Saturday, 30 March 2013

Happy Easter

I'm hoping that now Easter is almost here maybe the warmer weather will be on it's way to us all, too.

Here's Grumps looking out for the Easter Bunny.

Grumps is oblivious that there won't be any chocolate eggs for him, but I'll make sure he has a treat in the way of a dental chew or something. Okay, so that's not exactly unusual, seeing that he has one each day, so maybe I'll let him have one of his slightly bigger chews while we're chomping through our hoard of chocolate eggs.

Unfortunately, once the eggs have been eaten, I'll have to dust the sideboard that's being hidden by the boxed eggs. Or I could buy more...

Friday, 1 March 2013

Guest Post - Inceptio by Alison Morton

Thank you very much for welcoming me to your blog, Debs.

Today, my debut novel, INCEPTIO, is published. Hooray! Three years of slog – researching, writing, and polishing – have led to this exciting moment. You know how much work it’s been when we’ve discussed writing at the conferences and meetings we’ve both attended.

It all started when as an eleven year old fascinated by the mosaics at Ampurias in Spain I asked my father, “What would it be like if Roman women were in charge, instead of the men?” Maybe it was the fierce sun boiling my brain that day, maybe it was just a precocious kid asking a smartarse question. But clever man and senior ‘Roman nut’, my father replied, “What do you think it would be like?” Real life intervened (school, uni, career, military, marriage, motherhood, business ownership, move to France), but the idea bubbled away in my mind and INCEPTIO slowly took shape.

Of course, I made the classic mistake of submitting too soon, but had some encouraging replies. Several rewrites later and I’d made some full submissions, even to a US agent! I had replies like ‘If it was a straight thriller, I’d take it on’ and ‘Your writing is excellent, but it wouldn’t fit our list.’ I was (am!) passionate about my stories so I decided to self publish with bought-in publishing services.

You describe your novel as an “alternate history thriller” – how is that different from a normal thriller?

Alternate history is based on the idea of “what if”? What if King Harold had won the Battle of Hastings in 1066? Or if Julius Caesar had taken notice of the warning that assassins wanted to murder him on the Ides of March? Sometimes, it could be little things such as in the film Sliding Doors, when the train door shuts and Gwyneth Paltrow’s character splits into two; one rides away on the train, the other is left standing on the platform.

The rest of the story, or history of a country, from that point on develops differently from the one we know. In my book, Roma Nova battled its way from a small colony in the late fourth century somewhere north of Italy into a high tech, financial mini-state which kept and developed Roman Republican values, but with a twist. It’s really been fun working this out! The thriller story then takes place against this background. The nearest comparison would be J D Robb’s Eve Dallas Death series.

Stories with Romans are usually about famous emperors, epic battles, depravity, intrigue, wicked empresses and a lot of sandals, tunics and swords. But imagine the Roman theme projected sixteen hundred years further forward into the 21st century. How different would that world be?

So what’s INCEPTIO about?

New York – present day, alternate reality. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice – being eliminated by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to the mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe. Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety, a ready-made family and a new career. But a shocking discovery about her new lover, the fascinating but arrogant special forces officer Conrad Tellus who rescued her in America, isolates her.

Renschman reaches into her new home and nearly kills her. Recovering, she is desperate to find out why he is hunting her so viciously. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it...

And next? I’m working on PERFIDITAS, the second book in the Roma Nova series.

You can find INCEPTIO on Amazon UK and Amazon US

You can read more about Alison, Romans, alternate history and writing on her blog:, on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @alison_morton

Congratulations, Alison.  I can't wait to read INCEPTIO.