Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Year, New Manuscripts

This year is going to be busy -- particularly heading into Spring, but for good reason! ALL THE WRITING!

I'm currently 58,000 words into my next book (a non-Greek-myth historical adventure), and counting. Which puts me about 6,000 words behind where I *wanted* to be by the end of this month, but there's time to catch up. Unfortunately, the sacrifice is going to be on the blogging-side of things (in addition to the majority of my social life -- whoops!) So expect updates when I actually have exciting news, but things will be quiet around here until I conquer this monster of a draft!

In better news, if you missed it before Christmas -- BY HELEN'S HAND now has beautiful cover art and a May 10th release date! Along with some back cover copy for those of you hoping for a hint of what's to come:
With divine beauty comes dangerous power.

Helen believed she could escape her destiny and save her people from utter destruction. After defying her family and betraying her intended husband, she found peace with her beloved Theseus, the king of Athens and son of Poseidon.

But peace did not last long. Cruelly separated from Theseus by the gods, and uncertain whether he will live or die, Helen is forced to return to Sparta. In order to avoid marriage to Menelaus, a powerful prince unhinged by desire, Helen assembles an array of suitors to compete for her hand. As the men circle like vultures, Helen dreams again of war—and of a strange prince, meant to steal her away. Every step she takes to protect herself and her people seems to bring destruction nearer. Without Theseus’s strength to support her, can Helen thwart the gods and stop her nightmare from coming to pass?

Picking up where HELEN OF SPARTA left off, book two completes Helen's story!

And if by some strange turn of events you have come upon this blog and NOT read HELEN OF SPARTA already -- it's on sale for kindle during January for just 2 dollars (and the paperback is still priced below $9!) so head on over to Amazon and order that copy for yourself (or a friend) while the sale lasts!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holiday Hiatus!

The winners of the #NAMEthatBUTT challenge have been declared over on, and I have LOTS of words to write, and Helen of Sparta's sequel to proof, which means it's time for the annual the HOLIDAY HIATUS! But before I go, a few notes:

  1. Just in time for Christmas, the paperback edition of HELEN OF SPARTA is on sale during the month of December for just $8.75 on! Give the gift of Helen and Theseus to your friends, so they'll be ready for Book Two, BY HELEN'S HAND in June!
  2. I've got more books by Amalia Carosella in the works once Helen's story wraps, but I can't share anything more about them quite yet! Just rest assured that I'll be using December and January and February to write like the wind for your future historical fiction reading pleasure. (Which means you might just mostly be getting writing cave updates when I'm back to posting in late January/early February.)
  3. Did I mention both HELEN OF SPARTA and BY HELEN'S HAND are getting audio book editions?! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I'm super stoked, and I hope you are, too!!

And that's a wrap for now -- here's some Santa Herc to get you through the new year, along with my warmest wishes for the happiest holidays of your choice/tradition!

See you in 2016!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

3rd Annual #NameThatButt: Round 7, Double Butt Finale BONUS QUOTE!

This is it, guys! The final round!! And I've got a final Bonus Quote for you, too -- though it might be a little bit anti-climactic if you've already determined the identification of our twin ultibutts!

(To be honest all the best bonus quote action for these two butts is in a forthcoming title -- but that wouldn't be fair quote-play!)

These butts are courtesy of Thomas G. Hale!
Please do not reuse without permission.
A horse whinnied, drawing me to the window. The messenger stood with his animal, greaves, cloak, and leather chest-plate covered in dust from the road. My brothers greeted him, looking as though they had come straight from the practice field. They certainly didn’t look like twins, but of course the priests had attributed that to parentage, and said the same again when Clytemnestra and I were born, three years later, different as moon and sun in appearance and temperament. Leda swore Zeus had been in her husband’s guise the first time he came to her. She only realized the deceit later that night, when Tyndareus himself had returned and took her to bed a second time. The priests believed, then, that fair, green-eyed XXXX had been born of Zeus, and dark-haired and olive-skinned YYYY came from Tyndareus’s mortal seed. When my brothers’ looks were repeated in Clytemnestra and me, their declarations were only made more convincing.

Be sure to drop your guesses in the comments, and if you haven't already, hit up for this week's clues, to #NAMEthatBUTT after you #NAMEthatBOOK!

But as a special treat for this Bonus Quote Finale, here's a snippet of an unedited cut scene from the BOOK you're guessing, as well! Call it Bonus-Bonus content...

Acamas brought me my evening meal, for Aethra could not be spared from the banquet without insulting the guests. I smiled and insisted that he sit with me while I ate, for I wanted desperately to hear the news from Sparta, and I had learned quickly that Acamas heard most everything in the palace. He was still young enough to be overlooked, and old enough to know all the best places to listen.

“You should have seen the horse he rode!” Acamas told me, his eyes bright with excitement and his cheeks flushed. “Black as night and taller than any in Father’s stables. It must be Poseidon’s own stallion!”

“Is XXXX not with him?” I asked, picking through the vegetable relish for the sweet peas. I saw no reason to eat cabbage if I did not need to, though it went well enough with the goat meat.

“Just the son of Atreus.” Acamas wrinkled his nose with distaste. “He demanded that Father let them search the women’s quarters, but of course Aethra would never allow it. She was offended more than Father, I think, and YYYY apologized. Menelaus is certain you must be here, but I do not think your brother believes it. He said that all of Sparta grieves for your loss, and offerings are made to Zeus each day, asking that you be returned unharmed. So many, the priests are growing fat on them! Queen Leda refuses to leave her rooms, and King Tyndareus has sent men out to every corner of Achaea, but it is rumored among the Spartans that Zeus took you to Olympus and so Tyndareus sent XXXX to Delphi to learn what he might from the Oracle.”

“Let us hope that the Oracle keeps our secret, then.” I offered him a fig and he took it with a grin.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

3rd Annual #NAMEthatButt: Round 6 Bonus Quote!

And we're back for Round 6 with another bonus quote! (I can't tell you how much I wish I could quote from BY HELEN'S HAND for this year's #namethatbutt challenge, but alas! Maybe next year!)

Once again, if you haven't seen the clues for this week's butt, hit up and be sure to check it out.

In the meantime, you can Name This Book instead!

“You offer this bull as gift rather than sacrifice. Do you think I am so easily trapped by sacred laws? I am not a king that you can make me your guest-friend and bind me to your protection.”

“I come to speak to the father of my husband, my lord, not to the god.”

“And yet, it is the god’s favors you ask for.” His sandaled feet were tied with seaweed instead of leather, so dark a green they looked black. He offered me his hand, and I had no choice but to take it, or risk giving offense. His fingers closed over mine, warm and dry and well calloused. “Rise, daughter of Zeus, ill-gotten wife of my son.”

I did as he bid, keeping my gaze averted from his face. He wore a sail-cloth kilt the color of sea foam, wrapped around his hips and tied carelessly with thick ropes similar to those I had glimpsed on the deck of Theseus’s ship, but his chest was bare, and he stood taller than his son by a head or more. He was as brown from the sun as any oarsman, his body so thick with muscle, he made Theseus look sparely built.

“Make your sacrifice, for you surely need the god’s favor more than the father’s love.”

Drop your guesses in the comments and get ready, because next week is the DOUBLE BUTT finale!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

#NAMEthatBUTT Round 5

No bonus quote this week -- but please do head over to and check out the clues for this week's #NameThatButt round!!

While you're waiting for next week's games, you'll find me (beginning tomorrow!) at World Fantasy Con in Saratoga Springs, NY, and I'll have Butt stickers and Butt magnets, for your amusement, along with assorted bookmarks, postcards, and whatnots. I'm not on any panels this year, but if you see me, I'll be thrilled to say hello, and my Amalia Dillin books will be on sale in the dealers room at Flights of Fantasy Books and Games!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

3rd Annual #NameThatButt: Round 4, Bonus Quote

For Round 4, we're switching it up to marble, rather than bronze -- and a huge thanks to the photographer, Tommi Lou Carosella, for capturing this backside! Head over to to #NAMEthatBUTT, if you haven't, or keep on scrolling for this week's BONUS QUOTE, and #NAMEthatBOOK instead, for an extra 2 points!

photo by Tommi Lou Carosella, used with permission

“XXXX, hear us,” I began, pouring a sip of the wine into the fire. “We are the vessel, and you are the wine. And so we drink to you, of you, with you, that we might know you, and you might know our hearts and prayers, and carry them up, to Olympus, to Zeus our king of kings, and Hera our queen in all things, that we might be heard and answered!”

And then I drank. One sip, then two, before I circled the hearth, pausing between each of the four pillars, to raise the cup again and drink, giving thanks to [him] with every touch of the wine against my lips. When I reached the position before the throne again, I finished what remained in the kylix and dropped to my knees before the hearth.

“Accept our offerings and all our prayers, we beg of you,” I finished, lifting my arms and throwing my head back. My eyes closed. “Accept us as your servant, your vessel, in this.”

Drop your best guess of the name of the book in the comments on either blog, and thanks for playing! Next week there will be NO bonus quote, but don't worry -- there will definitely be more #NameThatBook fun for round 6!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

3rd Annual #NameThatButt: Round 3, Bonus Quote

I can't promise a bonus quote every week -- there are a couple of sculptures of mythic figures in my hoard who I haven't referenced even obliquely in my books, and in fact, this quote is kind of a stretch but(t)! Name this Book, and you'll get your 2 bonus points, regardless! (If only Helen's Sequel were out, I'd have a much better quote -- but alas and alack!)

And don't forget to #NameThatButt over at, when you're done here! But at LEAST click over to see the reveal for Round 2 because it's one of my favorites of this year's game!

This round's bonus quote:

The Northlands had fallen to the Christians, one after another. All but the Sami, in the far north, and the peasants and Samogitians of Lithuania, to the east, had converted. The old ways were outlawed along with the worship of the gods who had nurtured them for so long. There were those among the converted lands who still made sacrifice in private, praying to Freyr to protect their crops, or calling upon Odin to give them strength in battle, but every year, they grew fewer in number. Every year, the gods of Asgard spoke of moving on. And every year, Odin refused to be persuaded, his one-eyed gaze falling upon Thor, and grimmer lines forming around his mouth and eyes. Odin had never forgiven him for Loki’s murder, nor was he at all pleased that the Council had sanctioned it. But that was not all that lay between them.

“All these years, and you are still under her spell,” Odin had spat, after Thor had told him he would not go on to the new world that Zeus and his brothers had found, regardless of any decision made by the Aesir.

XXXX and Anubis traveled between the two planes, now and again, bringing news and invitations. The Covenant had forged bonds between pantheons that had not been forgotten, and Zeus had not quite given up on reclaiming his wisest daughter. Most of the Egyptians had left, at Ra’s urging, and a good many of the Persians had followed. There was no longer room for any worship but that of Elohim in those lands.

Name that Book! And maybe the mysterious XXXX's backside will come into better focus! :)