Friday, April 24, 2015

Interview with Alan Joshua, author of The SHIVA Syndrome

Title: The Shiva Syndrom
Author: Alan Joshua
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Kindle

 A secret Russian mind research laboratory in Podol'sk erupts, annihilating thousands and leaving a monstrous, one-mile deep crater in its wake. Beau Walker, parapsychologist and reluctant empath, is coerced into joining a research team, code-named SHIVA, to investigate the enigmatic event. Walker must fight his way past political and military deceptions and a host of deadly adversaries to unlock the riddle of the SHIVA syndrome. Will he have the physical, emotional, and spiritual strength to defy the dangers he faces…or will they destroy him before he can come to a new, challenging understanding of the nature of reality?

To Purchase The SHIVA Syndrome

amazon BN

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

Actually, I have two. But they’re also my least favorite qualities: curiosity and intuition. Curiosity insists on answers; intuition informs me that there is an answer to be found, then signals me if it is the correct answer. When I’m able to cast light on some mystery, it is very rewarding. When I am urged to find an answer and am unable to do so, it becomes very frustrating.

Here is an example of when curiosity and intuition work well. Years ago, I tested an adolescent. His test scores told me something about him. My intuition, however, urged that there was more, beyond the test results. I requested that he be given a CT scan. A few days later, the staff psychiatrist (who referred him for the CT) came into my office, looking bewildered. He said the scan showed calcium growths inside the boy’s skull, pressing on his brain. “How could you know?” he asked. “Just a hunch,” I answered. He shook his head and left my office.

How long have you been writing?

Most of my life, but with no intention of publishing. Since the mid-Eighties, I’ve written and published a variety of psychological articles and book, test, and film reviews.

When did you first know you could be a writer?

Presumably, my writing ability was assured when my first article on consciousness and creativity was published in the Journal of Creative Behavior. There is a tangible quality I felt when I first saw my name in print. It changed my reality and validated interest in my work.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

In the nonfiction area, I’ve been heavily influenced by many notable psychologists and psychiatrists, too many to go into detail. Carl Jung and Stanley Krippner have been two of the strongest influences. In fiction, as a science fiction fan, the greatest influences have been Asimov, Bradbury, Crichton, Heinlein, Serling, and Phillip Dick.

While working on The Shiva Syndrome, I depended heavily on mental imagery to guide me in story development. I was surprised to discover that the characters had taken on a life of their own and seemed to be guiding the direction of the story and their own actions. So, in addition to the writers who influenced me, I would have to add the characters I create, and how they influence the story.

What made you want to be a writer?

In a sense, I’ve always written in one form or another. When I began to write articles on psychology, if one was published and generated excitement, this was very satisfying.

Writing fiction, however, is even more rewarding. It’s a sharing of your pleasure, enthusiasm, and interest over your story and characters that is especially gratifying when readers understand and can relate to the ideas, images, and storylines. One beta reader became so personally involved that she reacted strongly to different characters in the book as if they were real.

How did you come up with the title of the book?

The Shiva Syndrome was one of three possible titles. Typically, it helps to have a working title as you develop the manuscript. Once the manuscript is completed and has been read (seemingly) endless times, there is a certain “pull” that draws you towards the most meaningful title.

Are there any current books that have grasped your interest?

My reading varies depending upon my mood. Because I am a clinical psychologist, there are times when I feel the need for factual or theoretical information. At other times when I would like to enter another reality created by an author, it may be horror, science fiction, or mythology, again depending on my mood. Most recently, I read Dean Koontz’s Watchers. I was motivated by an interest in looking at his style, as well as the subject matter.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

One of the greatest struggles, from the beginning to the end of the writing was in finding ways to translate abstract, complex concepts into forms that could be understood by readers. When you use terms like “mythic consciousness,” or “collective unconscious,” there are many instances when words fail.

Another challenge impacted the evolution of the book. Having an art background, I tend to have strong imagery associated with storytelling. I elected to try my hand at a screenplay first. After partially completing it, an acquaintance suggested that I send it to an entertainment attorney in Los Angeles. He reacted very quickly, and sent me an exciting email telling me how interested he was in the story. However, as I moved ahead on the screenplay – learning while I wrote – I realized that the partially finished product was already four times the length of the average script. At that point, I saw no other alternative than to turn it into a novel.

This led to another set of catastrophic circumstances. When the manuscript was complete, agents and publishing houses – although intrigued by the story – would take it no further. It was far too long for a debut author. As in the case of other publishers, Champagne Book Group suggested that I split the story into two books. After this was done, I found that the fabric of the story had been torn and lost momentum and evolution, both in plot and character development, that was found in the complete manuscript. Fortunately, Champagne held a conference over this issue and agreed that it should move forward as a complete story.

Did learn anything while writing your book? If so, what was it?

Oh, indeed I did. I learned a great deal about the dark underbelly of publishing: agents and publishing houses.

More importantly, as I became more deeply engaged in the substance of the book, I saw ways of interpreting reality that had not occurred to me at other times. Through intense contemplation (or absorption), creative processes are engaged leading to illuminations and inner growth for the author as well as the reader–hopefully.

Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative, you can talk about your first job, something that inspires you, anything fun that might grab the reader’s attention.

1. My first college degree was in Fine Arts; I majored in sculpture and design. Through my exposure to art and creativity, the instructors trained the students how to perceive and interpret. This was before I knew that I would move into psychology and the tools that I learned in art school were applied during psychological interviews and the interpretation of test results.
2. Although I had long-standing interest in paranormal phenomena, only personal experience makes it “real.” When I was in an early phase of research for my doctoral dissertation, I needed to acquire ten books written about, or by “psychic” or “spiritual” healers. While working in Center City, I meditated on the direction I should take when I went out for my walk. The name “Robins” appeared as a faint mental image. Although I could have shrugged it off, I decided to head towards a bookstore by that name. Although I hadn’t been in the store for many months, on that day they had tables lining the center of the store, books for sale from someone’s estate. Almost immediately I found a book that I knew a friend would want for their birthday. Then, I saw the word “healing” on a cover and discovered a valuable book for my research. As I tossed aside other books in search, I found a total of six out of ten books that I needed. This was a highly significant and improbable event that lent even more credence to the reality of the paranormal.
3. I was invited to a séance at the home of a distinguished Philadelphian with a magnificent collection of antique furniture, some of which had been handed down in his family for generations. The “psychic” or medium informed the owner that one desk had a hidden drawer. Although he expressed his doubts, he examined the desk following her instructions and found the drawer she described. His shocked look of pleasure gave evidence that he had no idea that such a drawer existed.

Tell us a little bit about the cover art. Who designed it? What made you choose that particular image/artwork? 

In fact This is the second cover. The first was designed by another writer who produced covers as a side job. Trisha Fitzgerald designed the cover that is on the publication. She is an artist who works with Champagne Book Group. When I first saw Trisha’s art, I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. Although it was beautifully done, it seemed to lack something. I used Photoshop to increase the contrast and to “burn” certain areas. When the changes were made. It was a wonderfully dramatic symbol of the Hindu god Shiva, perched in a strand of DNA with a background of organic chemistry symbols. From the feedback that I’ve received, it seems to have a magnetic draw to it.

The Shiva syndrome, his debut fiction novel, is a science fiction/paranormal mystery and thriller. Always curious about the unknowns of human experience, he is fascinated with creativity and paranormal abilities. This led to his involvement with Psychology and research into Parapsychology. He has explored paranormal abilities using hypnosis and in-depth interviewing of a wide range of practitioners. Among his prized possessions are a shriveled, mummified banana (a product of one healer’s biopsychokinesis) and a small, curled Austrian teaspoon produced by a German healer while six people sat around him. (see )

The Shiva Syndrome incorporates his knowledge of Parapsychology and experiences with healers, intuitives, “psychic” sensitives, etc. Unsurprisingly, he is a science fiction fan and has been influenced by such writers as Asimov, Bradbury, Crichton, Heinlein, Serling, and the extraordinary genius of Phillip Dick. As an avid Star Trek fan, he is fond of contradicting Gene Roddenberry, believing that human consciousness and its potentials are “the final frontier.” If you have questions for me, I would be glad to answer them–time permitting. I’d like to hear from you if you’ve had any paranormal experiences.

  For More Information Visit Alan at his website  
As a native Philadelphian, Alan Joshua (pen name) has the appropriate fondness for soft pretzels and cheesesteaks. He is married, has two grown children, and lives in the suburbs. He is currently a practicing Clinical Psychologist with a background in Forensic Psychology. His diverse background includes working in a State penitentiary and mental institution, a sleep laboratory, and a pain management center. Joshua has published many nonfiction journal articles.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In His Corner, Baked Fresh, Second Chances, A Taste of Sauvignon and Men Like This Book Feature!

Contemporary Romance 1 Kensington

In His Corner by Vina ArnoTitle: In His Corner
Author: Vina Arno
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Romance
Format: Kindle

Work Out

 No sex for almost a year could kill a guy, but when you’re the boxer known as the Juggernaut, it’s the price you pay for turning pro. Tommy’s fully dedicated to his craft, until he meets the incredibly gorgeous Dr. Siena Carr. Now he’s looking forward to taking on this prim and proper lady in a wet and wild work-out…

Knock Out

 Siena has seen many patients come through the ER, but none as sexy as Tommy Raines. With a nasty cut over his eye, she knows he needs stitches, but after he takes off his shirt, she needs some air. With rock-hard abs and taut biceps, it’s clear this man takes care of his body. And all Siena can think about is letting him take care of hers…

For More Information

  • In His Corner is available at Amazon.
cindyfazzi1 Cindy Fazzi was born and raised in the Philippines. She has worked as a journalist in the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States. Her two decades of experience as a news reporter, writer, and editor includes working for the Associated Press. Her first romance novella, In His Corner, written under the pen name Vina Arno, was published by Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington Publishing. It’s scheduled for release on April 14, 2015. Her short stories have been published in Snake Nation Review, Copperfield Review, and SN Review. She’s the author of a series of four nonfiction children’s books about the Philippines, Peru, Pakistan, and Ireland, published in 2005 by the Rosen Publishing Group. The books were part of a series called A Kid’s Guide to Drawing the Countries of the World. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Ateneo de Manila University and a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio State University. She lives in picturesque Utah with her husband, Vincent, and their daughter, Nina.

  For More Information
  Visit Vina’s website.
  Connect with Vina on Facebook

Baked Fresh by Annabeth AlbertTitle: Baked Fresh
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Romance
Format: Kindle

 From its famous coffee to the mouthwatering fare at its cafés, restaurants, and bakeries, Portland, Oregon, has a lot to whet the appetite, including the hard-working men who serve it all up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations… Vic Degrassi is a baker on the rise, and it’s all thanks to his rare ability to make—and keep—his New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking, or graduating from culinary school, Vic goes after what he wants—and gets it. This year? He wants Robin Dawson, the sweet-hearted hottie who volunteers with him at the local homeless shelter. When he learns that Robin is suddenly single after being unceremoniously dumped, Vic is more than happy to offer a shoulder to cry on—or at least a fresh-baked pastry to bite into. But it’s been a long time since Vic’s gone on a date, and he’s nervous about risking his friendship with Robin. So when their flirtation turns into a steamy night together, Vic and Robin have to figure out if they’re friends with benefits or lovers in the making, and if Robin is ready for something more than just a rebound. There’s only one way to find out: turn up the heat…  

For More Information

Baked Fresh is available at Amazon.

Annabeth AlbertAnnabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

  For More Information
  Visit Annabeth’s website.

Second Chance by Stacy FinzTitle: Second Chances
Author: Stacy Finz
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Romance
Format: Kindle

 Nugget, California, is a spot-in-the-road that's easy to miss. But this little mountain town knows how to give the struggling and discouraged many paths back to happiness—and love…

Reporter Harlee Roberts is used to finding the story, not living it. Unfortunately, losing her dream job and glittering city life means she needs a serious rewrite. Downtime at her parents' cabin in Nugget is a break she could really use. But the less her rugged woodworker neighbor has to say to her, the more Harlee’s natural curiosity is piqued, and the more she wants exclusive access—to his heart…

Nugget's open spaces and mountain quiet are the perfect refuge for Colin Burke. All he wants is solitude, to mind his own business—and for Harlee to mind hers. Still, her live-wire personality and take-no-prisoners commitment to those she cares about are a temptation pulling him way too close. Is their connection strong enough to survive his secrets—and risk a future together?

For More Information

Second Chances is available at Amazon.

Stacy Finz Stacy Finz is an award-winning journalist. After more than seventeen years covering notorious serial killers, naked-tractor-driving farmers, fanatical foodies, aging rock stars and weird Western towns for the San Francisco Chronicle, she figured she finally had enough material to launch a career writing fiction. In 2012 she won the Daphne du Maurier Award for unpublished single-title mystery/suspense. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband.

For More Information
Visit Stacy's website
Connect with Stacy on Twitter and Facebook  

A Taste of Sauvignon by Heather HeyfordTitle: A Taste of Sauvignon
Author: Heather Heyford
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Romance
Format: Kindle

Join Heather Heyford as she returns to Napa for a third taste in her series following three wine heiresses, each as vibrant and unique as the grapes for which they were named…

Sauvignon St. Pierre has always been fiercely ambitious. She easily could’ve cashed in on her family’s fortune, but instead, she struck out on her own, breezed through law school, and landed a job at a small firm in Napa. Savvy’s life is as tidy and straightforward as her sizable collection of little black dresses, and she likes it that way—but every now and then, she can’t help but long for her first sip of love…

After a chance encounter with Esteban Morales, the caliente son of Papa St. Pierre’s long-time rival, something inside Savvy wakes up. It could be that Esteban’s interest in cultivating lavender appeals to her passion for perfumery. But there’s something else about the charming but down-to-earth farmer that she simply can’t resist. They both know their families are an unlikely pairing, but together, Savvy and Esteban just may be the ideal varietals for a perfect blend…

For More Information

A Taste of Sauvignon is available at Amazon.

Heather HeyfordBorn in the Northeast, Heather Heyford learned to walk and talk in Texas, and then moved to England. (“Ya’ll want some scones?”) While in Europe, Heather was forced by her cruel parents to spend Saturdays in the leopard vinyl back seat of their Peugeot, motoring from one medieval pile to the next for the lame purpose of ‘learning something.’ What she soon learned was how to allay the boredom by stashing a Cosmo under the seat. Now a recovering teacher, Heather writes love stories, feeds hardboiled eggs to suburban foxes, and makes art in the Mid-Atlantic. She is represented by the Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NYLA, @nyliterary) in New York City. The first book in her Napa Wine Heiresses Series from Kensington Publishing, A Taste of Chardonnay, is now available in print and ebook on Amazon and B&N!

For More Information
  Visit Heather's website
  Connect with Heather on Facebook

Men Like ThisTitle: Men Like This
Author: Roxanne Smith
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Romance
Format: Kindle

Can she trust a man who pretends for a living?

 Horror author Quinn Buzzly knows all about the dark side, but when she meets actor Jack Decker, she’s moved to explore something completely different—at least on paper. With his sexy good looks, intriguing manner, and charming Irish-tinged English accent, Jack is the perfect model for her next hero. Quinn decides to spend one year in London writing a historical romance inspired by him. Until real life butts in…

 Jack’s jealous ex-fiancée sparks a media storm when she accuses him and Quinn of having an affair. But Jack knows how to play this game. At his insistence, Quinn agrees to go along with the faux romance until the chatter subsides. Then they’ll stage a quiet breakup and go their separate ways. Yet Jack is a shameless—and irresistibly convincing—flirt, and Quinn has to remind herself it’s an act. Or is it? If Jack means business, he’ll have to find the words to convince a wordsmith that their love is the real thing…  

For More Information

Men Like This is available at Amazon.  

Men Like This, is my debut novel, the first story in a series of three I've decided to call Long Shot Romance--long odds and stubborn hearts make love a thing to fight for. I've always loved characters who surprise me and make me laugh, with just a tad of the dramatic tossed in, and I hope that's something I've been able to do for my readers. So much of what inspires me comes from the unexpected; the fork in the road you might trip over. Life takes funny turns and there's not much you can do but hang on.

Most of us pick up a pen with the understanding that the odds are against us. It's a dream. I decided in my early twenties to take writing seriously and try. With trying came falling flat on my face more times than I can count, but there's always something to be gained from effort, and I took that and ran with it like I was a wide receiver gunning for the end zone at the bottom of the fourth on Superbowl Sunday. Lots of revising, rewriting, and tears between then and now, and a whole stack of friends and family at my back.

I'm a mom and wife before I'm an author, which is just as well. You can't leave the little people behind once you've ascended to greatness. Remember where you came from. My kids are my two favorite people. They're weird and hilarious. They're at that age where they're forming into something unique and apart from everyone else. They're developing self. It's probably one of the most rewarding things I've experienced as a parent so far, right up there with teaching them bathroom independence. A teen parent twice over, I've done just as much growing as they have in the last decade, and I've done it with the perfect partner--married 11 years and still arguing over who gets to drive the hypothetical Corvette.

For More Information

Visit Roxanne's website
Connect with Roxanne on Facebook and Twitter

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Love Letters from A Doughboy by Margie Howd with Melissa Watkins Starr Book Feature

Title: Love Letters from a Doughboy
Author: Margie Howd with Melissa Watkins Starr
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 178
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ebook Purchase at AMAZON

 Thomas Fletcher first sees her in 1916, at a drug store in Birmingham, Alabama. He doesn’t know her, but her brown hair and beautiful eyes captivate him. He soon learns her name—Juliette Wilcox—and she would learn his. Their attraction cannot be denied, but something stands in their way. Thomas is a drafted soldier, about to be sent to Europe to fight in the dreaded World War I. Although Juliette begs for them to be married before he goes to boot camp, he doesn’t want to leave her a widow. Their letters will keep them close. Letters are all they will have until he returns from the battlefield—hopefully, alive. For the next four years, letters arrive from far off France and Germany to Juliette’s front porch in Alabama. For the next four years, their love grows, develops, and increases. Even so, war is a dark force, and many men never return. Will Thomas be one of the soldiers lost, or will he come home and make Juliette’s dreams of marriage a happy reality?


Margie Howd has a degree in sociology from the University of Evansville. Now sixty-three, she lives with her husband, Jim, in a large retirement area in central Florida called The Villages. This is her first book.

No Crystal Stair by Sarah Smith Ducksworth Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon GC!

Title: No Crystal Stair
Author: Sarah Smith Ducksworth
Publisher: Trafford
Genre: Poetry
Format: Kindle

 Each poem in this collection is a reflection upon the author’s personal life or is a response to her vicarious interactions in the lives of characters she has met in real life or in books. Through the critical lens of poetry, she has looked for deeper meanings inside those experiences. Though the writer ends with an understanding that her life has not been a “crystal stair,” alluding to the hardships the titular character in Langston Hughes’ Poem--“The Negro Mother”-- faced, the writer feels that these poems, all together, reflect her world view and personal Truth.

To Purchase No Crystal Stair

For most of her life, Sarah Smith Ducksworth has seen herself as a teacher who writes. She has had a teaching career spanning nearly forty years and has taught language arts in New York and in New Jersey middle schools, high schools and universities. This current book of creative writings represents a reversal in the way she has begun to identify herself and launches her intent to spend the rest of her life pursuing her love of writing. 

Sarah is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins April 20 and ends on May 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Guest Post from William A. Clifford, author of Amy

Author: William A. Clifford
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Pages: 268
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Purchase at AMAZON
An experiment in creation, with some religious views, that shows the reasons why, we may not want, what we think we want. How plans take on a life of their own, and there is no going back.
 Stories set in modern times are undoubtedly going to come in contact with some sort of authority. In some cases you can limit the official input and continue on your merry way. Some make the authority contingent the main focal point. Amy needed to have a way to show she had an official status. She needed to go through the gauntlet of official inspection, because she had no childhood history. No parents, school records, vaccinations, or any such thing existed for her.
Tom knew there was only one thing that could explain a lack of memory on all aspects of her life. A special type of amnesia that involved the whole gamut of interactions from short to long term memory. Showing them going through the testing and raising no red flags gave her an opportunity to be given an identity and with that she could do anything that anyone else could do.
This was such a requirement that the first book was dedicated to showing this process from the beginning to end. There was one option I nearly included and that was a suspicion from the investigating officer. I decided that there was not enough evidence and the normal screening took care of that suspicion. Other than establishing her identity, I wanted to bring to light the problem that Children's services is having with funding being cut. It is true here in my area and has been alluded to in other districts in other countries. Child welfare needs to be a priority with every stage of government taking this and making a stand.
Amy had a straight forward walk through of the system and required little drain on the resources in the process. She was fostered by the family that found her and that family was prepared to adopt her, so that a minimum of supervision was needed. Only one case worker was needed for her welfare. The school system was a bit more challenging, but with enough input from the different agencies and teachers involved, she was placed in an appropriate level for her aptitude.  It was a toss up as to how this would work out. She could have gone with her reported age, her apparent age, or her aptitude testing.
There are a number of children in our area that are very mature looking for their age. Even kids within our social group show too much physical development for their ages. Because this would affect her placement in school and submit her to differing social groups within the schools, I had Amy appear to be older yet just in the start of puberty for the story to be addressed as it needed to be. The next book in the series has very little to do with the authorities as far as Amy is concerned, so we ended book one with her getting her identity.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Raised in Ancaster, in the country setting. Attended Ancaster High and Vocational School, where I got my diploma. After that I enrolled in the working world until my retirement. I am married with three grown children and six grandchildren. I build miniatures and like to build landscapes of my own design.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Red Stick One by Kenneth Kirkeby Book Feature!

Title: Red Stick One
Author: Kenneth Kirkeby
Publisher: K. Kirkeby
Pages: 272
Genre: Adventure/Thriller
Format: Kindle/Paperback

 When senior wildlife officer, Tom Jay Harding, is murdered in the field the half-Indian boy he raised, now grown and also a wildlife officer, takes off his badge to embark on a cross-country search for the killer.

For More Information

Red Stick One is available at Amazon. Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

 Kenneth Kirkeby has written for national outdoor magazines for over 20 years. His first novel, The Tournament, was published in 1996. He served in the Marine Corps and lives in North Texas. Red Stick One is his second novel. For More Information Connect with Kenneth on Twitter. Find out more about Kenneth at Goodreads. 

Interview with James Mace, author of Soldier of Rome Rebellion in Judea

Soldier of Rome Book Banner

Soldier of Rome Rebellion in JudeaTitle: Soldier of Rome: Rebellion in Judea
Author: James Mace
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 430
Genre: Historical
Format: Kindle/Paperback

 In the year 66 A.D. the Roman province of Judea exploded in rebellion. Far from being a revolution of unified peoples, the various Jewish factions of Sadducees, Zealots, Sicarii, and Edomites are in a state of civil war; as anxious to spill the blood of each other as they are to fight the Romans. The Judeans find hope when the Romans commit a serious tactical blunder and allow their forces to be ambushed and nearly destroyed in the mountain pass of Beth Horon. Following the disaster, Emperor Nero recalls to active service Flavius Vespasian, the legendary general who had been instrumental in the conquest of Britannia twenty-three years before. In the northern region of Galilee, a young Judean commander named Josephus ben Matthias readies his forces to face the coming onslaught. A social and political moderate, he fears the extremely violent Zealot fanatics, who threaten to overthrow the newly-established government in Jerusalem, as much as he does the Romans. Soon Vespasian, a tactical and strategic genius who had never been defeated in battle, unleashes his huge army upon Galilee. His orders are to crush the rebellion and exact the harshest of punishments upon those who would violate the Peace of Rome. Lacking the manpower and resources to face the legions in open battle, Josephus knows he will need plenty of cunning, ingenuity, and, perhaps, even the intervention of God Himself, lest the once proud Kingdoms of Judah and Israel should become a kingdom of the damned.

For More Information

  • Soldier of Rome: Rebellion in Judea is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
As far as writing goes, my proudest accomplishment has to be becoming a five-time ancient history best-seller on Amazon and Amazon U.K.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I’ve always loved telling stories, and my parents encouraged my sister and I to read from a young age. My entire family is also big into history, and I found I was fascinated by specific eras, specifically Ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, and the British Empire.
When and why did you begin writing?
I got my actual start writing bodybuilding and physical fitness articles for and a magazine called HardCore Muscle. For me, writing has always been about gaining knowledge, and then passing that on to others, in a format which they will enjoy reading.
When did you first know you could be a writer? 
When I was working on the initial draft to my first book, Soldier of Rome: The Legionary. I was in Iraq at the time, and for me, it was a cathartic means of escapism. Pretty much everyone knew what I was doing, and several soldiers in my platoon asked to read the chapters I had written so far. I was afraid they would think it was campy or cheesy, yet when they all really liked it, and asked me if I had any more for them to read, I knew I could be a writer.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Historical fiction / based on actual events. As most people are not up for reading dry history books, I attempt to bring history to them, in a way that they will both learn about our collective past, while also enjoying the story. Some of the biggest compliments I have received from fans and readers is when they tell me that they only got into a particular historical period because I wrote about it.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Watching the series, I, Claudius, and then later reading the books. One episode that stuck with me was the disastrous ambush in Teutoburger Wald, Germania, in 9 A.D., where three Roman legions were destroyed. This is brought up in the series, though they only gloss over the Roman campaigns of retribution, six years later. I always thought it would be great to read about those campaigns, but to have them told from the perspective of an individual Roman legionary. I was twelve at the time, and such a book would not exist until I wrote it, seventeen years later.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?                                                                                                                                                           
Keeping the characters fresh, original, and above all, believable. There is also a level of balance, because you want your characters to be relatable; however, one cannot insert modern moralities that would not have existed then. For example, while I find the thought of slavery to be abhorrent, it was commonly accepted during the 1st century A.D., and not just by the Romans. Pretty much every culture in the known world practiced slavery, especially when dealing with conquered peoples.
Another challenge, especially when writing about actual events, is keeping the historical facts accurate. While I insert fictional characters into my stories, I make certain that they are believable, and that the balance of probability is there was someone like them from the time. I also try to make certain that they do not change the events that we know happened.  I can think of a few instances, where I had written a chapter, only to have to change or completely re-write it, because I had my facts wrong. While many authors are okay with changing historical events because “it is just a story” (filmmakers are notorious for this), to me, that breaks the bond of trust between the author and the reader.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
I already have. Mind you, it took a few years. My first book came out in February 2006, and I did not become a full-time author until my fifth book came out, around December of 2011. Up until then, it was simply a hobby, and I wrote for my own enjoyment. Around spring of 2011, after I got all of my works onto Kindle and eBooks, sales immediately skyrocketed. By summer, I was making far more in book royalties than I was working for the federal government, and by fall I made the decision to leave my job and become an author exclusively. I left my job on 9 December 2011, and I haven’t looked back…well, except when my wife and I get invited to their annual Christmas party!
Have you developed a specific writing style?
Extremely graphic. I believe that war is mankind’s most abject failure, and while there may be honor in fighting for one’s nation, there is no glory. If fans read the battle scenes in my books and are repelled by the horrific violence, then I have done my job. I also take a very direct approach, in that I make every attempt to write the events as they happened, without passing judgment one way or the other. This is probably one of the most difficult things to do, especially when I do have a personal bias towards the events I am writing. When I wrote my novel on the Waterloo campaign, called I Stood With Wellington, many fans noted that, while it was definitely written from a heavily British perspective, I still treated the French characters with respect, while avoiding painting either side as either heroes or villains.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
Being completely relentless. The greatest weakness of most aspiring authors is self-doubt, and the inability to finish what they start. I have interacted with dozens of people, who all asked me to read segments of their work (some of which was actually quite good), and to give them publishing advice. In all but two cases, the writers in question never finished a single work. Once I completed my first full-length novel, even in its raw and unedited state, I knew I could finish any work I set out write. In fact, my fourteenth book is coming out very soon, with two more to follow by the end of the year.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
I have a few, and they are pretty self-explanatory.
“Assume a virtue, if you have it not.” - William Shakespeare
“In a free state there should be freedom of speech and thought.” - Emperor Tiberius Caesar
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” - The Dalai Lama
“Next to a battle lost, the saddest thing is a battle won.” - Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington
“If this day should be your last, may you die with honor.” – I wrote this in my most recent work, as the last words between two Roman soldiers on opposing sides of a civil war. I won’t claim it as a “James Mace original” however, because I am certain this quote, or ones very much like it, have been said throughout history.

James Mace James Mace is the author of twelve books and the CEO and Founder of Legionary Books, which he started in 2006. He developed his passion for history at a young age and has made Ancient Rome a life's study. He penned the initial draft of his first novel, Soldier of Rome: The Legionary, as a cathartic means of escapism while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. He spent a career as a Soldier, and in 2011 left his full-time position with the Army National Guard to devote himself to writing.

 His well received series, Soldier of Rome - The Artorian Chronicles, is a perennial best-seller in ancient history on Amazon. With his other favourite period in history being the British Empire, his writing has branched into the Napoleonic Wars. He is currently working on a new trilogy about the Roman-Jewish War of 66 to 73 A.D., along with a side project about the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.

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