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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Today's Special - - Joan Kayse


I am so excited to welcome Joan Kayse today.  Many of you know Joan as one of the famous (infamous?) Romance Bandits - and we know her as one of the nicest people around - but today we're welcoming her as a newly published debut author!  That's right.  We finally have the opportunity to read about those Roman heroes!  When Joan isn't busy creating sexy heroes, she's busy as an orthopaedic nurse.  Find out more about her at her website and connect with her at Facebook and the  Romance Bandits blog.

Please join me in giving Joan a very warm welcome!









Good morning Dishes!

Heartfelt thanks to PJ and Andrea for having me today.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

That, my friends has been my motto since the day I decided to get serious about all these stories flying around in my head. I’ve even considered having it tattooed somewhere on, er…my person.

My name is Joan and I write Roman historicals.

Kind of sounds like a 12 step program, doesn’t it? Well, it felt like it in 2001 when I began to explore the alternately astounding, energizing, frustrating, beat your head against the wall, raise your fist with fervor world of romance writing. That was the year I attended my first RWA conference in New Orleans. It was there that I met my first challenge in writing a non-Regency, non-Scottish historical. “I write Roman historicals” I stuttered, still not quite used to actually SAYING I was a writer. Oh, the looks of pity, the soothing “Oh, sweetie…really. Look at the market” responses. Would have withered some. Me? Just made me all the more determined to do just that.

Understand I was a baby writer then, having only been focusing on publication for a little over a year, after my mother passed away and I hit that “evaluate your life” phase of grieving. After all, she bestowed on me my creative mind and passion for the things I love. I grew up reading and loving romance, especially historical romance. Why not write one?

While I adore all types of history, Rome in all of its infamous, magnificent, decadent glory is my favorite period of all. I have no logical explanation for it. I mean the closest I got to studying it was taking two years of high school Latin. Substituting Latin words in the refrain of “Willie Go Round in Circles” was about all I took away from that. Oh, and a major crush on Mr. Powell the teacher J

But I KNEW from the first day I sat down to flesh out THE PATRICIAN  that I would be telling three heroes’ stories and they really, only could take place in Rome. Take a little bit of alpha, a touch of wounded (or in Bran’s case…a LOT of wounded) and a smidgen of an all consuming Empire that threatens their very existence. Throw in vibrant heroines that meet them toe to toe and voila….a series was born.

My fellow Banditas over at The Romance Bandits have created an elite contingent of gladiators. Demetrius, Lucien and Marcus are great guys (and mix a mean margarita) but there were more than gladiators and tribunes living and loving in 52 CE. Meet the first of my hot, Roman heroes:

Jared of Alexandria shuns both his Roman and Hebrew blood, a curse that’s kept him on the fringes of society, to become a powerful and successful merchant prince. When his trading empire is threatened by an unknown enemy who not only wants to see him ruined but dead as well, he uses every means to put an end to it. He turns to a beautiful barbarian seer, a slave with hair the color of firelight and eyes that shine like emeralds only to be betrayed into a fate worse than death—slavery.

But Jared’s not the only one who’s been dealt a blow by the Fates:

Bryna of Eire lives each day burdened by the yoke of Rome and her own guilt for leading her beloved brother and clansmen into Rome’s clutches. She curses the gift of sight which her master exploits, keeping her under lock and key, telling fortunes and fattening his purse. When an opportunity to be freed of her confinement comes, Bryna takes it, though her instincts warn that lying to the sensual, golden-eyed man that plagues her visions risks her very soul.

.Conflict much? And it starts from the very beginning. Here’s an excerpt from THE PATRICIAN:

Bryna’s head shot straight up with the creaking of the door. Her eyes burned from the sun streaming into the gloom of her cell. Against the blinding light, she could see only the silhouette of a very tall man. She forced herself not to rub her arms and betray the anxiety skimming along every inch of her body.
            The man stepped inside. Coeus started to follow, but was stopped by a muscular arm stretched across the entry.
            “I have paid my coin,” the man said. The rich timbre of his voice seemed familiar. “I would speak with the seer alone.”
            Coeus’ face turned several shades of red before tilting his head in acquiesces. “As you wish, master.” He backed out but not before shooting Bryna a hard look of warning. The door slammed closed.
            Accustomed to the dismal light, Bryna’s eyes adjusted quickly. The man stood with his back to the door, legs braced, his face draped in shadows. The long sleeves of his robe fell toward his elbows when he crossed his arms over the broad chest of a warrior. A furring of black hair jutted out from beneath the neckline of the tunic, eliciting a coil of warmth deep in her belly. She pulled her gaze away, trailed down his narrow waist and froze at the knife fastened to his belt.
            The light of a thousand stars flashed in her mind and she was running along a dark path, her hand grasping that of a small child. Distorted sounds echoed around her, weeping, screaming followed by a weight of grief so heavy her vision-self fell to her knees. Blinking through smoke at the grove of tall palm trees, she looked down, bile rising in her throat. The sightless eyes of the beaten, bloodied woman stared at her and a wave of guilt ripped through her gut.
Bryna gripped the edge of her seat as she settled back to the present, still feeling waves of energy pulsing from him, unsettling impressions of anger and vengeance and resolve. Beneath the maelstrom she glimpsed gentler traits, but those were quickly swept away, unable to stand up to the stronger emotions. She bit her lip at the familiar power that flowed from him. It bombarded her from every direction, overwhelming her senses with one certainty—he was dangerous.
            And she was going to lie to him.

The Roman world is filled with more than gladiators and centurions. It’s filled with people like Jared and Bryna, fighting an Empire and a society that would deny them that which they seek most. Love.

What interests you most about Ancient Rome?  Are you stubborn like me?  Have you ever been told "you can't?"  

66 comments:

  1. Hi Joanie,
    Congrats on your debut release. I love reading about and watching TV shows about Ancient Rome. I'm fascinated by the political intrigue and how the different social classes interacted with each other.

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  2. Hi JT! Hi PJ and Andrea, thanks for having our Joanie on today. I've been waiting for these stories for a long time, having read snippets that were so powerful and emotional, they've stayed with me ever since. Congratulations on publishing, Joanie! Best of luck with it. When I get my iPad (hopefully this week) I'll be downloading THE PATRICIAN tout de suite!

    I have to say I haven't come up against an awful lot of negativity but then I DO write Regency historicals, so I suppose I never had to face writing against the market. I did face an awful lot of negative 'self-talk' when I finally decided I had to try to get healthy and lose weight. I think often we're our own worst enemies, aren't we?

    As for Rome, the sheer decadence, sophistication and cruelty of the time are simply breathtaking. Such a powerful backdrop for a romance!

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  3. I have been waiting for this a while now Joanie, already have it downloaded, now if I can just get the time required to read it!

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  4. Joan, congrats on your debut! That's a great excerpt.

    What interests me about ancient Rome? Oh, everything! You know that. The expansion of the empire, and the brilliance of its military strategists, is intriguing. The ins and outs of daily life in any historical culture always draw me in. I went to a lecture by a Classics professor at my alma mater, Davidson, and one of the things she discussed was how the Romans were the world's best borrowers, adapting things from all the cultures they rolled over.

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  5. Good Morning Jane! Rome is a fascinating place. Have you been watching the STARZ series Spartacus? It is very realistic...there are no Tony Curtis' sayig "I wuv you Spartacus".

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    1. I love Spartacus, but really miss Andy Whitfield.

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    2. I do too Jane....he built the character, brought his own intensity to it. But Liam is doing a good job. RIP Andy

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  6. Hi Christina!!!

    Thank you for enthusiasm and you as well as ALL of the Bandits and BB's have been great supportors of my efforts. Yes, writing against the market was another lesson I've learned. I just get more determined when I'm told I can't...ask Mr. Granacher in 10th grade Earth Science. He told me I couldn't make a working model of an artisian well. (Holds up tattered, crumbling red ribbon) 2nd place in Science fair thankyouverymuch :D

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  7. Forgive me for not using reply feature...my computer is telling...me...I...can't Hmmmm

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  8. Hi Dianna! I still remember the lovely dinner with you and your friend in Charleston. Thanks and I hope you enjoy THE PATRICIAN! Semper Fi....er, it's Latin...for always faithful!!!

    Wanna hear Willie Go Round in Circles? :D

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  9. Hi Nancy!!! Yes, it is interesting that as Rome conquered a people, they would glean their accomplishments and adopt them...before squashing their countries :0

    Hope everyone here has gotten their copy of Nancy's debut novel RENENGADE!

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    1. "Squashing"...is that the Latin term? *g*

      Thanks for the shoutout!

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  10. Good Morning, Joanie! I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to be hosting you today as a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! It's been a long time 'a-coming! I've been fascinated by the ancient Roman civilization since my first visit to Italy as a teenager. I defy anyone to walk among those ruins, feel the souls surround you and not wonder about the people who populated the Roman Empire.

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    1. Hi PJ!!!! Thank you again for the opportunity to present THE PATRICIAN here at this wonderful site for readers...and friends. Your support means so much to me and to the Bandits. I envy you your trip to Italy. I've never been...in this lifetime anyway. I would love to visit Pompeii and actually enjoyed an exhibit at one of the Dallas RWA conferences with a museum exhibit. They had an actual dining room excavated wall murals and all from that city post Vesuvius. Fascinating. (and glad I switched to Google Chrome...you're right Suz...it IS better than IE)

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  11. I'll be on the road for a couple hours but I'll check in when I reach my destination. No swinging from the chandeliers while I'm gone! :)

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    1. (pout) No swinging???? How about shield sledding?

      Be safe and bring back presents :D

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    2. Oh, shield sledding is always appropriate. ;-)

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  12. Congratulations on your debut, Joanie! The Patrician has been on my Kindle since the first day it was available. I've read authors' takes on Roman history from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and Titus Andronicus to Francine Rivers's Mark of the Lion trilogy, and I look forward to reading yours.

    I admire your tenacity in the faces of all the nay-sayers. My biggest you-can't challenge comes from the Inner Critic, who has the stern demeanor of my terrifying 7th grade English teacher.

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    1. Hi Janga!

      Yes, that inner critic is a bear....is yours named Mr. Granacher? (God rest him, he was a sweet ole guy) I too enjoyed Francine Rivers take on the Roman life. She focused on one aspect with the emergence of Christianity, while I look at those just living and loving in a conquered world.

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  13. Joan, you know I am also a Romaphile. I also attribute it to high school Latin class and all those banquets we had where we ate ambrosia and had to dress like gods and goddesses. Came across a picture of one recently in a high school yearbook. Hilarious!

    As a third-year Latin student, I had to translate a bunch of speeches Cicero made to the Roman senate, exposing the plot of Catalina to overthrow the government. It was beyond painful(!) but it made me really curious about all the backstabbing and intrigue in the politics of the time. As well, I read a wonderful book by Taylor Caldwell called A Pillar Of Iron. It was a fictionalized account of Cicero's life, but I read it before I knew who Cicero was. Matter of fact, I never connected the two until years later. I just knew I loved the novel and it has stayed in my subsconsious ever since. Really, who wouldn't love a hero like Cicero??

    My fondness for Rome has never dimmed. I don't tend to enjoy most recent depictions of Rome because the focus is so much on battles, but I think it can be most riveting if done right!

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    1. Posh T!!!

      Thank you friend for the love and support you've always given my writing. I know you read an earlier version that brought me to the 2006 Golden Heart class. A win win as it brought me the Banditas too! I agree, that modern interpretations focus WAY too much on the violence of the time (though they as yet have not depicted some REALLY horrifying habits I won't dirty the Dish with). My Latin club? The first year students were the "slaves" and whoa to us if we ran across an upperclassman who would demand humiliating things like rolling toilet paper roll down the hall with our noses.....razing '70's style

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  14. Congrats on your release, Joanie! So glad to see The Patrician finally available - we've been waiting eagerly to read about your Roman hunks. I have it already downloaded and ready to read over Christmas!

    Uh yes. Writing about a hockey hunk when the romance world tells you couldn't do sports heroes! Thanks to authors like SEP, these days, sports heroes have become acceptable, dare I say even hot. So fingers crossed that my Bad Boy is out there some day soon.

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    1. (Raises fist like Norma Rae) I'm with you sister!!!!! The world NEEDS more hockey hunks and a few in loincloths....adds spice :D I hope you enjoy the book. My stats say another reader in England has downloaded it...I'm betting it's the Queen ;D

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  15. Joan, I've been waiting for YEARS to read your Roman stories - and I was not disappointed when I downloaded and read The Patrician this week. It was as spellbinding as I knew it would be! You are a talented writer.

    In high school (do I detect a theme here??!) my choir teacher brushed off my entry into the regional solo and ensemble contest. His jaw dropped when I earned the highest award possible and beat out his favorites by a full level. ;-) Take that, you naysayers!!! And you go, girlfriend! So happy for you!

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    1. I second Joanie's pox on that teacher! I see that happen all too often.

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  16. A pox on the choir teacher!!!! What is wrong with these people? Though....maybe they know the ones who will rise to the occasion and need a prod???

    Would you like a drink from my artesian well?

    (Hint...it has ambrosia in it nowadays)

    So glad you liked the book. The next one is planned for release at the end of January

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    1. The little town where I grew up had an artesian well. Best water I've ever tasted in my life. Those Romans were on to something! :)

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    2. Hmmmm...I don't know if the Romans invented those wells...I thought the Earth Science mastermind did :)

      I DO know the Romans came up with aqueducts, a pre-curser to our local water companies to carry water into cities from great distances.

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    3. LOL! I'm sure the Earth Science guy did!

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  17. Joanie!! (((HUGS))) Welcome and congrats on your debut! I don't think I've ever read a Roman historical (to my knowledge), but will download yours for sure. It is available for Nook, right?

    Growing up, I was never fascinated with history. I was 16 when I read my first historical romance and even then, I still wasn't a fan of learning about history, per se. I learned it in school because I had to. But now, I love it! I'm really enjoying "rediscovering" it along with my son (who is in 7th grade).

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  18. OOH, Joanie!!! A love story set in Ancient Rome! That seems fascinating. I mean, Romans wore outfits like a Scottish kilt, right? Sexy body, sexy legs, and, um, all. The excerpt was very good and I will pick your story up for my TBR pile.

    I love historicals and an Ancient Rome setting is very intriguing because it is not the typical setting of historicals. Congrats for stepping out of the norm, so to speak. :) YAY for you!

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    1. Hi Deb!!!! Indeed they did have similar clothing. The tunic allowed plenty of aereation to certain parts of the Empire! So glad you enjoy historicals...so many time periods, so many stories :D

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  19. Hello Andrea!!! Waving madly....

    Thank you for having me today!

    History can be dry if you just go by "the facts ma'm". But throw in people, find out what makes them tick, how they lived and loved ;) and it takes on a fascinating patina. The movie LINCOLN is a great example of that. Yes, I knew all about events but the process, the humanity both in our president and those around him that led to a very important amendment? Priceless.

    And yes, it's available on Nook as well as Kindle (e and print version)Smashwords and Kobo :)

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    1. Yay! Thanks, Joanie! We are hoping to see LINCOLN this weekend. My son is obsessed with American history, especially Lincoln. Can't wait!

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    2. LINCOLN is on my list of movies to see too.

      Funny bit of trivia: I was watching Jeopardy the other night and knew the right question for a clue in a historical category. How did I know it? I had read about it in a romance novel!

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    3. LOL....I've done that before too, PJ!

      LINCOLN was incredible! Daniel Day Lewis...Oscar...just sayin'

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    4. I've also done that before, PJ and Joanie!

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  20. I have arrived! Alas, no presents. Maybe tomorrow, Joanie, after I finish my shopping in the BIG CITY! :)

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    1. Sigh...ooooookaaaay :D

      I just went shopping in the big Walmart LOL

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    2. LOL! Tomorrow is the holiday shopping trifecta for our company: double employee discount plus 25% coupon plus free wrapping (for me, that means 30% + 20% + 25% on top of sales prices). That warrants a trip to Charlotte and a visit to the big Belk store! :)

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    3. Okay, that's not the only reason I'm here but it's a darn good one! :)

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  21. Hi Joanie!

    Can't say that Roman history was my favorite in school, but I really enjoyed the HBO series "Rome" and I'm really enjoying the Patrician. Congratulations on staying true to that stubborn streak and putting the book out for everyone to enjoy. I think every aspiring author has heard "you can't do that" at some time or other - but it's the true authors that push forward and do it anyway. I love hearing your voice in this book. Wishing you mega success.

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    1. Thanks Donna! I'm glad you're enjoying this.

      ROME was great as is STARZ Spartacus from the underlings of the patrician class.
      Yes, lots of writers hear this at one time or another. Choices being made are all part of it as it ended up being with me deciding to independently publish this series. Write what you love is more important IMHO as write what you know :D

      Now, Grayson! Get AWAY from that wrapping paper!!!

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    2. Hi Donna! That HBO series was great, wasn't it?

      I'm going to have to check out Spartacus now that I have STARZ again.

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  22. Hello, lovely Dishies! Hello, JT! Joan, congratulations on the release of the Patrician! I love the excerpt. I'm so happy that the digital publishing revolution allows a lot of different voices to be heard. When I started reading historical romance, they could be set anywhere. Russia? Renaissance Italy? 17th century Spain? The South Pacific? Ancient Egypt? I read books set in all those places. Best of luck with your debut!

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    1. Hi Anna!

      I love the many different settings that can be found in historical romance. Love the UK but I like a little variety in my reading. There really is room for all those places you mentioned!

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    2. PJ, a lot of those books are on my keeper shelves because the stories were just so fantastic, despite what now is considered an uncommercial setting by the larger publishers. And a lot of them had the benefit of teaching me about places or times I didn't know much about - I love it when a historical actually gives me a bit of history along with all the steam and passion!

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  23. Thanks Anna! Yes, when I started reading historical time periods were not key...a good, love story was!

    You and Christine Brookes in particularly, have given a fresh, new face to Regencies and I hope to encourage readers and writers to explore other times and places

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  24. JoanieT :-) Hey there and a big happy congrats on the release of the Patrician :-D So happy for you. And rockin' awesome excerpt - thank you for sharing that.

    I am stubborn. The words 'you can't...' just make me that much more determined. My husband is grateful, though, that I'm not an 'I told you so' person, too :-)

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    1. Hi T Depp! Welllllll....the "told you so's" can be reflected in my rockin' cover. My thanks to Lyndsey at Lewellen Designs!

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  25. So nice to see you here! Congratulations on your debut story. I love firsts! And I love variety. Historicals are my favorite and since I've not read much about this time period in romances, I'm really looking forward to it!

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    1. Catslady!!!! Hello!!!! So glad to see you here. Historicals are my first love too and I think you'll enjoy the different setting. Pssst...there's a Roman CAT in there too :)

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  26. Congrats on your debut, Joan! I'm fascinated by all time periods in history and I cannot wait to read The Patrician *g*

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  27. Hi, PJ and Joanie! Congratulations on your debut publication, Joan. We've all been waiting to get our grubby little hands on this book, and I can tell you, it's worth the wait!

    Love, love me some ancient Romans. I grew up on those old movies like "Ben Hur" and "The Robe."

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    1. Those movies are classics, aren't they Jo? Also can't forget Spartacus....though I never saw the appeal of Kirk Douglas :0

      Glad you enjoyed the book!

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    2. Classic movies! Loved watching them. (still do) ;-)

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  28. Hi Joanie!! Congrats on the book release. I love the idea of a story set in ancient Rome. I can't wait to read it.

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    1. Hi Christie! Congrats on your new release too. It's awesome, btw.

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  29. Hey Christie! Thanks! Hope you enjoy it!

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  30. Joanie, thanks so much for hanging with us today. Best of luck with THE PATRICIAN. I'll be reading it soon!

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  31. I had fun! Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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  32. Hi Joanie! *waves madly from the Bandit lair*

    I'm so sorry I'm late. It's been that kind of day.

    I LOVE your excerpt, and I can't wait to read this story! It's been a long time in coming, and I've got it on my Kindle, saving it for the break I'll get at Christmas.

    I'm so thrilled you've decided to put this out! Your Romans have always fascinated me. I know so little about that period, but it's so rich with the potential for stories. I'm so glad you stuck with the time that called you. Demetrius and the other gladiators from the lair all lift their glasses with me. CONGRATULATIONS on your first release! WOOOOT!

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  33. One of the things that interests me about ancient Rome is what we don't usually hear about. The focus seems to be on the elite roman society and the excesses they indulged in, and the gladiators with the events of the arena. There were many segments of roman society that made life there diverse, rich, and complex. We need more stories about them. It sounds like you will be providing some of them.

    After being told early in high school that I was stupid to think I could write a book, I stopped sharing my plans and dreams. I just do what I plan and try to make my plans come true. I no longer give anyone a chance to say "I can't." It is too discouraging and damaging.

    Best of luck with your roman trilogy and all your other books in the future.

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