Friday, October 29, 2010

The Pericles Commission



I don't normally do book reviews, but I waited months to read Gary Corby's debut novel, The Pericles Commission and it was FABULOUS! I devoured it as fast as I could- definitely a five star read!

Here's the scoop:

A dead man fell from the sky...

From the first line, The Pericles Commission is a riveting look at Ancient Greece as seen through the eyes of Nicolaos, older brother of Socrates and private investigator for the politician Pericles. The backdrop of Ancient Greece is a unique setting in which Nicolaos must investigate the brutal murder of Ephialtes, the father of democracy.

Nicolaos is a humorous narrator who doggedly pursues his case, even as it threatens his own life. Of course, no sleuth would be complete without a sidekick and Nicolaos finds one with the witty (and sometimes snarky) Diotima, priestess of Artemis. In a time when Greek women were typically locked away, Diotima keeps Nicolaos (and much of Athens) on their toes.

Snippets of intriguing Greek history are interwoven throughout the novel, akin to the style of Lindsey Davis' fantastic Falco series. This was a great trek through Ancient Greece, one highly recommended for all mystery lovers and fans of historical fiction. Bravo!


PLUS...

There's a contest starting Monday for The Pericles Commission- stay tuned for more details!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Will Publish For Cupcakes



Here's the conversation my three-year-old monkey and I had last night...


MONKEY: Mommy, what does publish mean?

ME: Well, it means that an agent says they like my book and they find someone who will make lots of copies of it. Then they put them on the shelves in the book store so people can buy them.

MONKEY: Oh, mommy- I can publish your book! Next time we go to the book store I'll put your book on the shelf. Then a mommy and a daddy will come and say, "Hey, kid! Here's a book!" Then they'll buy it and take it home. Then they'll read it and love it. Yay!



So next time you go into Barnes & Noble and see a paper-clipped copy of Hatshepsut (probably on a low shelf with chocolate cupcake fingerprints) you'll know that's definitely my book. It might be free too- I'm not sure if my new agent/editor knows about UPC's, Bookscan, and all that.

Also, if anyone else is looking for an agent/editor please feel free to query my little monkey. She can't read yet, but she likes pictures of princesses and owls. If you could work in a story about pink princess owls that would be even better. And I'm pretty sure she'll work for cupcakes. But only chocolate or pink ones.


Image from Thrill My Heart.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

First 250 Blogfest- Finally!

This weekend was Elle Strauss' First 250 Words Blogfest. I had every intention of posting the first page of Hatshepsut on Saturday and then was waylaid by a migraine that mucked up my entire weekend.

If I could have gauged my eyes out or trephinated my own skull on Saturday I would have. Unfortunately, both those tasks are difficult to accomplish when you can't get out of bed.

So now, without further ago, here are my 250! (Better late than never, right?)

---

Her sister was dead.

Hatshepsut reached out to touch a clump of papyrus reeds as the skiff bobbed its way across the Nile. Soon she would become the next Great Royal Wife. The title should have gone to Neferubity; would have, had her sister not passed to the Field of Reeds. Now Hatshepsut's greatest responsibility in this life was to marry her brother and bear Egypt's future heir. The thought made her wish she could trade places with her sister.

The morning was still cool enough; Re's scorching heat had not yet wrung the sweat from her pores. The rowers gave a hippo wide berth, but the lazy river cow only yawned before submerging itself below the silty waters. Hatshepsut's eyes burned with the tears she had shed at Neferubity's tomb, but donkeys brayed and children laughed as the boat neared the East Bank. Life continued here in Egypt's capitol, despite Neferubity's absence from this world. The rowers--young men scarcely clad in loincloths--grunted as they tied up the royal barque. One almost tripped in his haste to help her onto the dock.

"Hatshepsut!"

Even though she hadn't heard it in almost two years, she knew that voice.

Her brother. And future husband.

Thutmosis had been in Canaan on a military campaign with their father for the past two years and wasn't expected back for several months. Hatshepsut was shocked as her brother hobbled toward her, leaning on an ivory walking cane. His lips pursed every time he put weight on his right foot.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Lady Gaga Effect



I cannot get Lady Gaga out of my head.

This is bad. Very bad.

Do you know how hard it is to write about the Middle Ages or Ancient Egypt when you have the lyrics to "Bad Romance" or "Poker Face" running through your head, especially when you're editing a scene and random words from the chorus start typing themselves into your dialogue? My brain cannot multi-task! (This is also why I never listen to music with lyrics when I write.)

My favorite Lady Gaga line?

Russian roulette is not the same without a gun.

Darn straight! (Says the girl who has never and will never play Russian roulette.)

But seriously, how lame would it be to read a scene on Russian roulette and then find out there was no gun? Or bullets. Or poison.

I shy away from conflict in real life and have had several readers call me on the fact that I shield my characters from conflict too. But fiction has to be larger than life. It's not just Russian roulette with a gun, it's Russian roulette with an Uzi pointed in your face. (Yeah, I like hyperbole. So sue me.)

So next time I want life to go easy on my characters I'll just remember Lady Gaga. Somehow I doubt she ever shies away from conflict.

Happy weekend!