Pages

Friday, January 8, 2010

Post and Win - Cleopatra's Daughter


 From now until January 17 you can enter to win a hardcover copy of Michelle Moran's book "Cleopatra's Daughter" and an ancient Roman coin complete with a certificate of authenticity.  Entering is easy.  Post a comment on any post on my blog during that time and you will be entered to win. 

Every comment qualifies as an entry!



 Michelle's Bio: 
Michelle Moran was born in the San Fernando Valley, CA. She took an interest in writing from an early age, purchasing Writer's Market and submitting her stories and novellas to publishers from the time she was twelve. When she was accepted into Pomona College she took as many classes as possible in British Literature, particularly Milton, Chaucer, and the Bard. Not surprisingly, she majored in English while she was there. Following a summer in Israel where she worked as a volunteer archaeologist, she earned an MA from the Claremont Graduate University.
Michelle has traveled around the world, from Zimbabwe to India, and her experiences at archaeological sites were what inspired her to write historical fiction. In 2006, Michelle was married at the Chateau d'Esclimont in France, a 16th century location which spoke to both her and her husband's love of history. Every year, both Michelle and her husband embark on an historically-themed trip for two to three months. In 2008, they retraced the journey of Homer's Odysseus, and most recently they followed the path of the American Revolution from Boston to France to Virginia.
A public high school teacher for six years, Michelle Moran is currently a full-time writer living in California with her husband. She is the author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter. Her fourth novel, Madame Tussaud, will debut in March 2011.



Here's an Interview with Michelle


Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes. Some authors come to writing by chance, some after graduating college or working for a while. For me there was never any doubt about what I would do as a career. I think my teachers felt the same way. I can remember being in third grade with the toughest teacher in the world and hearing her voice echo in my mind like a scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. "Michelle... Michelle... Michelle?" Only I wasn't physically absent like Bueller. Just mentally! When I write, the scene unfolds in my mind like a movie, only I'm the director. I can listen to characters' dialogue, then tell them to stop, do it over, say the words differently, or strike a different pose. In an academic setting this can be a problem, because instead of learning Calculus I'm watching a movie, only it's a movie with endless possibilities because I create the scenes.
Q: How long did it take you to get published?
My first attempt at getting published was in seventh grade, when I was twelve. So I guess I can say it took me fifteen years. I had written a full length book that was probably pathetic but everyone praised it and my father hailed it as the Next Great American Novel. My father was very good at ego-boosting. But no one knew how to go about getting published, so I went to my local Barnes and Nobles and asked them how. And instead of laughing, the bookseller took me to the writing section and I purchased the current edition of Writer's Market. From then on, no agent or publishing house was safe. I learned how to write query letters and regaled them all. And some of them sent personal letters back, probably because I had included my age in the query letter and they either thought a) this kid has potential or b) this is sad and deserves at least a kind note. I went on to write eleven more books before writing Nefertiti, which would eventually sell to Random House.
Q: Where are some of your favorite places to travel? 
France tops my list, and I mean anywhere in France. Paris, the Riviera, Normandy, Saint Symphorien, the Languedoc region. Then Italy, particularly Venice, and finally Vienna in Austria. I could live in any of those places easily, and someday probably will.
Q: If you weren't a writer what would you want to be?
A teacher. I taught in a public high school for six years and nothing could be more rewarding than exposing young adults to historical fiction and many other kinds of reading and writing. Many people talk about teaching with an abundance of clichés. You can change lives, you can open doors, you can etc etc. But for me, those clichés were all true.
Q: Any advice to aspiring writers?
Keep writing. If at any point along the way I had stopped writing and said to myself, you know, I think book number eleven will be my last, I wouldn't be published. Writers don't like to hear this, though. I know when I was looking at writing advice and I would see this posted somewhere I would think, well that's helpful. I wouldn't have thought of that. But the truth is there's no good-ol-boys-club and there's no backdoor into the publishing industry (unless you're already a star). Good work sells, and if it doesn't, write another one, then maybe once you're a success they'll haul out all of your old books that weren't worth publishing the first time around, spruce them up a little, and voila, all of your previous efforts won't have been wasted. Or maybe you'll look back on those books and think, wow, they knew something I didn't. My work has gotten better. And then you'll hide those first eleven books in a closet somewhere (or a craftily labeled folder in My Documents so that no one ever finds them).


An excerpt from Cleopatra's Daughter:




Cleopatra's Daughter
C H A P T E R - O N E
Alexandria
August 12, 30 BC.

WHILE WE waited for the news to arrive, we played dice. I
felt the small ivory cubes stick in my palms as I rolled a pair of ones. “Snake eyes,” I said, fanning myself with my hand. Even the stir of a sea breeze through the marble halls of our palace did little to relieve the searing heat that had settled across the city.
“It’s your turn,” Alexander said. When our mother didn’t respond, he repeated, “Mother, it’s your turn.”
But she wasn’t listening. Her face was turned in the direction of the sea, where the lighthouse of our ancestors had been built on the island of Pharos to the east. We were the greatest family in the world, and could trace our lineage all the way back to Alexander ofMacedon. If our father’s battle against Octavian went well, the Ptolemies might rule for another three hundred years. But if his losses continued. . .
“Selene,” my brother complained to me, as if I could get our
mother to pay attention.
“Ptolemy, take the dice,” I said sharply.
Ptolemy, who was only six, grinned. “It’s my turn?”
“Yes,” I lied, and when he laughed, his voice echoed in the silent halls. I glanced at Alexander, and perhaps because we were twins, I knew what he was thinking. “I’m sure they haven’t abandoned us,” I whispered.
“What would you do if you were a servant and knew that Octavian’s army was coming?”
“We don’t know that it is!” I snapped, but when the sound of sandals slapped through the halls, my mother finally looked in our direction.
“Selene, Alexander, Ptolemy, get back!”
We abandoned our game and huddled on the bed, but it was only her servants, Iras and Charmion.
“What? What is it?” my mother demanded.
“A group of soldiers!”
“Whose men?”
“Your husband’s,” Charmion cried. She had been with our family for twenty years, and I had never seen her weep. But as she shut the door, I saw that her cheeks were wet. “They are coming with news, Your Highness, and I’m afraid—”
“Don’t say it!” My mother closed her eyes briefly. “Just tell me. Has the mausoleum been prepared?”
Iras blinked away her tears and nodded. “The last of the palace’s treasures are being moved inside. And . . . and the pyre has been built exactly as you wanted.”
I reached for Alexander’s hand. “There’s no reason our father won’t beat them back. He has everything to fight for.”
Alexander studied the dice in his palms. “So does Octavian.”


While Michelle isn't here to answer your questions, I'll do my best to field them.  Every comment is an entry.  Comment on this and other posts and up the odds that you may win this great prize.  Contest open up to and including January 17.  
Good luck everyone!


Ryshia
www.ryshiakennie.com
Ring of Desire
From the Dust

53 comments:

BillyJack said...

Hard to believe that Michelle Moran started submitting her stories to publishers from the time she was twelve. She really did know at an early age that she wanted to write.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Billy Jack - I agree - she was young to know enough to submit while the rest of us were still stuffing manuscripts in our dresser drawers LOL! Check out her website - it's an interesting read!

LuAnn said...

I had yet another person tell me yesterday that I need to write a novel. They actually said I could get rich that way. Hah! Little do they know, huh?

I enjoyed the interview with Michelle. I can't wait to read her new book!

reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

Ryshia Kennie said...

Lu Ann - Writing to riches and fame - hmmm up there with winning the lottery? Not that it's a bad dream. I'd take it in a minute LOL!

Marjorie said...

I have the bookmarks for this novel and would like to put it
in the book.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Ryshia Kennie said...

Marjorie - The bookmark before the book - that made me smile. I've thrown your entry in the hat!

Judy said...

I enjoyed the interview. I have seen this book around and it looks like a very good read. It has peaked my interest!!!

magnolias_1@msn.com

Ryshia Kennie said...

Judy - Honestly I just found Michelle Moran a few months ago but her books intrigue me too.

SiNn said...

this book sounds soooo soo awesome i cnat buy any new books for a while not in the budget so i try and wina s many as ic ant lol deff on my wish list ty for stopin g ina nd hsaring an excerpt

pansy said...

Love the romance and travel. What a great read.

Ryshia Kennie said...

SiNh - contests are definitely a good way to build up those keeper shelves. And Michelle's story looks like a keeper!

Pansy - I agree - I particularly liked the links that take you to travel photos. Michelle did a good job all round.

audrey said...

i have always been fascinated with Cleopatra and would adore this book!

Ryshia Kennie said...

Audrey - there's something timeless about Cleopatra. I love reading about that era too.

thaeter7 said...

I love books set in this time period
rally_thade17@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

As someone interested in the drama that is the Mediterranean (did I even spell that right?!), I have been enthralled by the story of Cleopatra, her family history, her interactions with Rome and the ever-changing politics of that tumultous period... I have heard so many great things about this novel and would love the opportunity to read it. Please accept this as a entry into the contest. Thank you!

aliyadaya(at)shaw(dot)ca

Teresa said...

I am very interested in this book! To hear that Michelle writes as if she is directing a movie is facinating to me as a reader, because that's how I read a book. If I have read that the character is sitting down and then all of a sudden he's standing for some reason, I actually have to go back and re read to find where he got up! I really enjoy watching movies so I want my books to behave like one too.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Teresa - I agree. In fact I think that's what makes a book a keeper,the prose flows and the visual is just there without effort for the reader.

Ryshia Kennie said...

thaeter7/Anonymous - The time period is full of mystery and intrigue I don't know if it will ever lose it's appeal. I love the era too.

Susan said...

This is the type of book that I love to read!! I have read exerpts of the book and I can't stop thinking about it!

ryanw@mts.net

Susan said...

I have been to her website and if you get a chance you should too.

ryanw@mts.net

Susan said...

I read the Heretic Queen and absolutelt loved it. She has a rare talent that keeps you ebthralled from start to finish! Thanks for a great giveaway!

ryanw@mts.net

Ryshia Kennie said...

Susan - You're welcome - I'm having fun with this give away. And your comments have moved "Heretic Queen" up on my TBR pile to next!

audrey said...

i have always been fascinated with Cleopatra and would love to win this!

Kathryn said...

Cool bio! I was writing at a young age too; when you know what you're meant to do, why do anything else?

curtiskaty at hotmail dot com

Mystica said...

I've read most of her books but would love to "own" this one! These are books which you save and savor!


mystica123athotmaildotcom

Ryshia Kennie said...

Audrey - Of characters to meet in history I think Cleopatra would be one.

Kathryn - I agree if you know what you're good at when you're young why do anything else - as long as you can make a living at it. Sometimes the last part doesn't come as quickly.

Mystica - So Michelle's books are keeper books - that's good to hear and makes me more anxious to dive into my TBA pile.

audrey said...

I must comment again because of my fascination with Egyptology and Cleopatra. I have read/watched everything Egyptian from The Ten Commandments to Cleopatra to the Mummy!Egypt rocks and i would be honored to read your book.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Audrey - Wow you are a fan of Egyptian history. I find it fascinating but I've never studied it beyond what was required in history class. I'm sure you'll enjoy Michelle's book. I've just started "Heretic Queen" and love how she's set it up with an introduction to the history of the period.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good read. Thanks for the contest. Charlotte
charlottewinters@cox.net

brizmus said...

I have heard so many things about this book and would love to read it! I love books with history!
So seriously crazy that she was writing and submitting by the time she was 12. . .

Ryshia Kennie said...

Brizmus - I'm with you on books with history - or even history books LOL. But fiction with history twined through them, beautiful.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Anonymous - You're welcome. I'm having fun doing it!

Anonymous said...

Michelle Moran was the name of my best friend in grade and middle school, we just found each other on facebook after all these years!! So I hope you like this comment!!

Ryshia Kennie said...

Anonymous - well if best friend Michelle is one and the same as the author - pretty cool.

audrey said...

I would adore reading this and the roman coin is something i have never seen and would love to cherish!

earle1 said...

I would love to win the book. I am not familiar with the aurthor, but she sounds interesting.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Audrey/Earle1 - Books we've never read, coins we've never seen - isn't it all the joy of discovery? BTW I'm new to Michelle's books too and I've never seen an ancient Roman coin.

audrey said...

You are right Ryshia, discovery is the pleasure!

derezzer1 said...

I would love to win the old coin offered in the sweepstakes.

tfrink@cox.net

Ryshia Kennie said...

derezzer1 - yes the Roman coin has me intrigued too.

audrey said...

yes, the coin and history intrigues me immensely!

Anonymous said...

What does the coin look like?

robertcschulz2003@yahoo.com

Ryshia Kennie said...

Hi Robert - I imagine the coin looks very much like this one featured on Michelle's website. http://michellemoran.com/fun/contest.html
Check it out - For all of you there's more chances to win one of Michelle's books going on at her site.

von Weasel said...

I read the insert and I was totally impressed. Nice blog. It's my first time here.

Ryshia Kennie said...

von Weasel - Thanks and I hope you stop by again from time to time.

YellowCat said...

I just started watching HBO's Rome, so this would be a great follow up read. I love history!

Ryshia Kennie said...

YellowCat - sounds pretty much made for each other! I love when you find a fiction book that fits a documentary or non-fiction book you were reading.

audrey said...

great blog-will definitely read this book! And would treasure the coin if I win it!

cherdon said...

I read the Heretic Queen and enjoyed it immensely. Would love to win Cleopatra's daughter.

Please enter me. Thanks

cherdon@sympatico.ca

lilyk said...

This book sounds very interesting. I'll definitely check it out!

Anonymous said...

Where are the coins from?

robertcschulz2003@yahoo.com

Ryshia Kennie said...

Cherdon/Lilyk - I'm half way through Heretic Queen, great story.

Anonymous - The coin is an ancient Roman coin.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Audrey - Thanks!