Subscribe to my author newsletter THE AMALIAD, to stay up to date on Authors!me, and get a FREE short story about Ariadne and Theseus!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Top 5 Historical Fiction Reads of 2016

I read 99 books during 2016, and of those, 21 were historical fiction -- though, full disclosure, two of those 21 were mine (proof reads!), so really, we're talking about 19. I'm a little bit later to this party than I meant to be but -- my top five NEW* historical fiction reads in 2016 are below! Please note that really the top three are all equally great, so it's like three #1's and then #2 and #3. Or um. Maybe it's four #1's and a #2. You follow me.

*I'm preemptively cutting rereads from consideration because obviously I loved them or I wouldn't have read them again.


The Rebel Pirate (Renegades of the Revolution)1) The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland

Friends. I don't even LIKE American History. I could care less about the Revolutionary War, to be perfectly honest. It's not even remotely my period in any way, shape, or form. But Thorland sucks me in like none other, and The Rebel Pirate was a phenomenal follow-up to The Turncoat, which might have been my number one book if I hadn't discounted rereads. Honestly, even just thinking about this book, now I kind of want to reread The Rebel Pirate AND The Turncoat... So. I guess what I'm really saying is -- buy them both immediately if you haven't.


The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great 2) The Conqueror's Wife by Stephanie Thornton

If you haven't read any of Stephanie Thornton's book yet, I don't know where you've been or what you've been doing with your life, but you need to get on it. I've read three books that tackle Alexander the Great so far in my life, and The Conqueror's Wife is by far and away the most engaging to date. I defy you NOT to love Hephaestion and Drypetis, and as always, Thornton proves herself an absolute master when it comes to weaving the Ancient World.


Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3) 3) Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell

Ragnar and Uhtred are reunited in this book and their chemistry is fantastic. I'd been a little luke-warm on the preceding volumes, feeling like there was something missing for me, personally, to enjoy them as much as I'd like, but this one knocked it out of the park so hard I immediately ordered the next in the series. So for those of you who may have stopped reading the Saxon stories after book one or book two, man, book three made it all so worth it. Definitely give it another go if you were on the fence! (Also that cover is gorgeous.)



The Ghost Bride4) The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

This book was a perfect blend of mystical/spiritual and historical. It's definitely an example of what I'd love to see more of in the historical fiction genre, as far as the blending of those two elements goes. We need books like these, because without the spiritual to give us context for the cultural, we lose an important piece of the puzzle in helping us to understand one another. And while there were moments that didn't surprise me, perhaps, as much as I might have liked, it didn't prevent me from hugely enjoying this read.


Age of Bronze Volume 1: A Thousand Ships5) Age of Bronze by Eric Shanower

Okay, this is maybe cheating a little because I only read the most recent two graphic novels in 2016 -- the first two I read in 2015. BUT. I really want to recommend this as a whole thing, not just one volume, because it is one of the most meticulous and absolutely thorough retellings of the Trojan War mythology I've ever come across. Every side story, every footnote, every hero is represented right down to Theseus's sons, and the art is phenomenally researched too. There's no Hollywood Roman nonsense happening in these panels. It's the real deal, and I'm personally super eager to read more!

 If you want to know what my Top 5 Non-Hist Fic Reads were in 2016, Klikk Klikk!

And if you missed it, last week you got a very special teaser for DAUGHTER OF A THOUSAND YEARS, my next release, coming your way February 21! So check it out -- and if you enjoy it, don't forget to pre-order and mark it to-read on Goodreads!


 


Tamer of Horses Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Daughter of a Thousand Years No-Kiss Teaser

So for many years, thanks to the genius of Frankie Diane Mallis, there was this post-New Year's Day tradition of a No-Kiss blogfest (That other me even hosted it once). The idea was that writers across the blogosphere would post an excerpt from their work in progress of one of those key moments of unresolved sexual tension. Where a kiss might have happened, but didn't. Or just leading UP to a kiss, but without the kiss itself. It was a lot of fun, but as with many things, fell by the wayside as people moved away from blogging as their primary networking push.

But I'm feeling nostalgic today, and since we're just a little short of two months away from the release of DAUGHTER OF A THOUSAND YEARS, I thought you might appreciate a little teaser action. So to speak.

For context: This scene takes place in Viking Age Greenland, around the year 1000 -- give or take. Freydis is the daughter of Erik the Red, and like her father, she is a defiant pagan in a world that is quickly becoming more Christian than anything else. Enter a very bold man named Sonnung.

I sank up to my neck in the steaming water of the spring, sighing with pleasure at the warmth before pinching my nose and submerging completely. The water was almost too warm, the heat burning against my eyelids, and I did not like to think of the mess I was making of my hair, dousing it this way, but I used my free hand to loosen it from the thick braid I’d worn to keep it from tangling during the long weeks I had spent in my bed. The cleanliness of my body would be worth little if my hair and scalp still stunk.

My lungs ached, wanting to breathe, but I waited until I was truly desperate before I broke the surface again for air, gasping, then coughing from the sudden cold.

“A daughter of Njǫrd, now, are you?” a man asked, familiar amusement coloring his words. The next moment, he’d slipped into the water with me, all muscle and grace. “I was just beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t pull you back out.”

I forced myself to meet his gaze, keeping my eyes from his broad chest, scarred and pockmarked from what seemed to me a hundred battles. It was remarkable that he had survived so many wounds at all, never mind with such strength still. “I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that you were watching, eager as you seem to be to spear me through.”

He laughed, tipping his copper head back and spreading his arms along the green turf that lined the bank. “You’ll find nothing quite so sharp as a spear about my weapon, I promise you that.”

“You make far too many promises, Sonnung,” I said, looking away. He was every bit as attractive in sunlight as he had been in the dim farmhouse, but I had no interest in giving him the satisfaction of knowing I thought so. “I can’t imagine any man capable of keeping them all.”

“There are no men like me, Freydís,” he said. “You’ll see that soon enough.”

I sniffed, crossing my arms over my chest beneath the water. “That’s what they all say, but once you have your sword sheathed, you’ll be just like the others. Panting and heaving above me, dousing me in stink and sweat without a care for my comfort or pleasure.”

“Only a fool would crush you beneath him,” he said. “And I am no fool. But I won’t pretend you’ll find anything gentle in my arms. Not if you continue to tease me this way.”

“I’m not certain it would matter whether I teased you or not, in that regard,” I said, letting my gaze linger briefly on his scarred chest. “What’s a fighting man doing among a ship full of traders?”

“Perhaps he’s looking for a woman to cool the fire in his blood.”

“Then it’s Gudrid you want, not me.” I rose, not caring what he saw, meaning to haul myself back out of the water. My arms were weak, trembling, and I fell back with a splash, which only made me all the redder, shame flushing my cheeks. I grasped the turf and tried again.

“Freydís.” My name on his lips was a prayer. Admiration and desire, awe and naked need.

He was behind me in the water when my arms gave out a second time, but I wasn’t so sure it was my strength that had failed me. It was the wash of warmth from my core to my limbs, the quiver in my belly. He had one arm around my waist, his nose behind my ear, and the tickle of his beard, the caress of his very breath upon my neck. I shivered, and he drew me tight against his body, until I felt every inch of his skin against my back. He was so immense, so powerful. Not
three-legged, as Thorvard was, but large enough all the same. And hard.

The steaming water was cool against the heat of my skin, of his.

“I don’t want Gudrid,” he said against my ear. “I want the woman who stands against her. Who fights for the gods she was named for.”

“And if I refuse?” I asked, my voice far steadier than I felt.

“I’m not used to being refused,” he said, but there was humor there again, lurking beneath his words. Amusement at the game I played, even at his own expense.

“And yet.”

He growled, but a moment later, I was standing upon the turf, shivering in the cold. He followed easily, vaulting from the water, and tossed me my cloak before I’d even had time to think of reaching for it.

“Dress before I change my mind,” he said.


I hope you enjoyed the excerpt! DAUGHTER OF A THOUSAND YEARS will be blogtouring beginning February 16th with HFVBT, and releases on February 21st! So don't forget to mark it to-read on Goodreads and if you liked the above, maybe even give it a pre-order!




Tamer of Horses Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

4th Annual #NAMEthatBUTT Round 3 BONUS! #NAMEthatBOOK

Rounds 2 and 3 are both still live over at blog.amaliadillin.com, so be sure to head over and check out the butts up for naming! They make quite a pair, and there's still a bonus five points to claim if you can name the location over which they moon!

To collect your 5 #NAMEthatBOOK bonus points, all you have to do is correctly identify which book of mine (as Amalia Dillin or Amalia Carosella) I've pulled the quote from and drop your guess in the blog comments either on this post or the round three post yonder. The deadline to #NameThatBook is the final reveal of the final #NameThatButt backside, so you've got time to do some last minute reading if you need to!

Ready?!

Here's your quote:

“I must go to the shrine of xxxxx upon the mountain, and make offerings to the Horse Lord.” How her voice remained steady, even cool, she did not know, for she wanted to scream at the pain inside her. As if she had been torn apart slowly by despair, and a dull, thick needle was piercing through her body with the heaviest of strings to sew her back together again. “I would ask that Pirithous not be left alone while I am away.”

“My queen, you mustn’t go—”

“Alone?” she opened her eyes to meet Melanthos’s pitying gaze. “Alone is what I am, Melanthos. Alone is what I will always be. But I will not betray my people any further by allowing a stranger to set foot in our most sacred grove. No. I will go with Podarkes, and trust in the Horse Lord to keep me safe upon the journey. You and the rest of the men will remain here and see to your king.”

“Will you not even accept my company?” Theseus asked.

She knew by his voice he did not expect her to say yes. “If you wish to make sacrifice to your father I will not stop you, but you will not do so with me, upon the mountain.”

Comments are MODERATED -- so you won't see your guess posted on the blog. It'll be delivered straight to my inbox instead, where I'll hold it until the final butt has been revealed.

And don't forget to #NAMEthatBUTT for round 2 and round 3 if you haven't already!


Tamer of Horses Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

4th Annual #NAMEthatBUTT: Round 2 BONUS #NAMEthatBOOK!

If you're not already playing #NAMEthatBUTT over at blog.amaliadillin.com -- it's not too late to jump in! Round 2 is LIVE, and to celebrate, you've got TWO bonus opportunities! One relating to the sculpture's location, and the second HERE, With a #NAMEthatBOOK companion quote!

To collect your 5 #NAMEthatBOOK bonus points, all you have to do is correctly identify which book of mine (as Amalia Dillin or Amalia Carosella) I've pulled the quote from and drop your guess in the blog comments either on this post or the round two post yonder. The deadline to #NameThatBook is the final reveal of the final #NameThatButt backside, so you've got time to do some last minute reading if you need to!

Ready?!

Here's your quote:

The bull had been the god, come to test him, and one glance at Oenone had told him she had known all along. But he had bitten his tongue and knelt before the god of war, the bronze bull melting into an armored man, breastplate embossed with a bloody battle, so real, so grim, Paris could hear the cries of the dying when he looked upon it.

And that ruthless god, friend to no one, had laughed and called him just, named him honest and fair.

“Do you not see?” Oenone said later, after all the rest had gone, and they had led Tauros back to his herd, awarding him the heifer for his work. “I did it for you! Now, all of Troy will know you for your judgment, will praise you for your nobility. You are more than just a shepherd’s son, Paris, you are marked and acclaimed by the gods themselves. Surely you must be satisfied by that.”

Comments are MODERATED -- so you won't see your guess posted on the blog. It'll be delivered straight to my inbox instead, where I'll hold it until the final butt has been revealed.

And don't forget to #NAMEthatBUTT for this round if you haven't already! You have until SATURDAY this week -- because election day -- when I post the reveal.



Tamer of Horses Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NtB, A Fab Interview, and HNS Portland, GO!

Firstly:
We're less than a WEEK away from the 4th Annual #NAMEthatBUTT Games! I hope you're practicing your mythic-butt-identification!

This year I'm going to be giving away some new prizes -- including a 10 pack of Santa Herc Butt holiday cards, suitable for any winter holiday you and your friends celebrate, and a TAMER OF HORSES playing card (52 cards + jokers) deck, among other swag-esque items. And I'm going to be shipping internationally!

There will be more information about the gameplay for this season going up on blog.amaliadillin.com this week so keep your eyes peeled!

Secondly:
I did a really, really fun interview with The Book Wench(es) covering everything from my writing routine and my advice to new writers to Daughter of a Thousand Years, and of course all the Bronze Age Greece goodness in between. It's mostly focused on my Helen books but there's a LOT going on so definitely give it a read -- I think we all had a lot of fun with the interview itself and I am so honored to have been their very first author interview, so I hope you'll all leave comments and love! (And if you have any follow-up questions, go ahead and leave them in the comments on the interview and I'll swing by and answer what I can!)

Thirdsters:
Are you planning to hit HNS: PORTLAND in June 2017? (Hint: the answer should be yes.) The Panels and Sessions have been announced and on June 24th at 10:30am sharp I'll be joining with the fabulous Kate Quinn, Margaret George, Judith Starkston, and Libbie Hawker to talk Mythic Tradition and Legend vs. The Historical Record! here's the blurb:
Writing historical fiction set within myth and legend poses some intriguing issues today. To what extent do fantastical elements belong in myth-inspired historical fiction? When considering the sexual and racial diversity of the past, how can we contradict the popular white-washed version that often builds around legendary icons? It seems time for writers of the mythic traditions in historical fiction to bust some stereotypes and in the process hit some historical high notes.
HNS Portland will be my only west coast appearance for probably um, a really long time! So if you're in the Pacific Northwest, you might want to jump on the Reader Festival or at least come to the Saturday evening signing,* which will be open to the public! Most of my Amalia Carosella books should be available for sale at the event but you might want to order your copy in advance and bring it with you just to be safe.

*There is the smallest chance I might not get my name in the hat fast enough for the signing -- I'll confirm this for you guys as soon as I know for sure I'm in.

Lastly:
If you've read TAMER OF HORSES, please consider writing a review! And if you've already posted a review on Goodreads (Thank You So Much!!), do me a solid and copy/paste that bad boy to Amazon, too!



Tamer of Horses Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Draken!!

Taking a brief break from the Bronze Age, because I am overdue in telling you about my grand and glorious trip to Mystic Seaport to see the Draken --


She was mostly put to bed for the winter, the deck cleared and the sail stowed and bits of the decking pulled up to allow them to get down into the hold and clean her thoroughly and pump the last of the water out -- but she was BEAUTIFUL, all the same, and I blogged more about it over yonder at blog.amaliadillin.com! (Because it just seemed fitting?) Also, for the record, Mystic Seaport Chowder Days had the absolute best lobster bisque soup of my life.

In semi-related other news -- it sounds like DAUGHTER OF A THOUSAND YEARS will be available on Netgalley sooooooon! So those of you who have been eager to get your hands on it to review, the time is nearly upon us! Which makes me very, very anxious, if you're at all curious.

I will of course keep you posted when it goes live for all and sundry. But in the meantime -- there's always TAMER OF HORSES to tide you over! :)



Tamer of Horses Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

TAMER OF HORSES in the WILD!

People are saying some phenomenal things about TAMER OF HORSES, and I couldn't be more proud of Pirithous and Hippodamia!


But that's not all --

Erin at Flashlight Commentary said:
"I loved every minute I spent with Tamer of Horses and highly recommend it to fellow readers of myth based fiction."
(5 stars!)
The Book Voucher declared booklove and:
"I am in awe of Amalia Carosella’s latest, heart-wrenching, greek-tragedy style work" (5 stars!)
Betul at Silence is Read said:
"I was living this book, I was experiencing everything they were. I just couldn't get enough." (5 stars!)
and from KMcLeer Reviews:
"just as good as the Helen series and may even be better." (5 stars!)
Even Jayne at Dear Author had something to say about Pirithous and Hippodamia!
"I enjoyed watching these two come to a relationship of equals and love." (B!)

But lest you fear we are all TAMER OF HORSES all the time, I also have some other exciting news to share about what's coming NEXT on the blog(s)!

 NAME THAT BUTT!!!!


Just like last year, the main game will take place on my Amalia Dillin blog, but I'll have some bonus events over here, too. I can't even tell you how excited I am about this year's event -- so many awesome butts to share, including some new gods and heroes we've never guessed before!!! So brush up on your sculpture and your mythology, because it's going to be a GREAT season!




Tamer of Horses Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound