Monday, June 15, 2015

INTERVIEW: Sword of the Gladiatrix by Faith L. Justice plus #Giveaway! #Lesbianromance #Historical

Hello Faith and welcome to The Hat Party <3 Thank you so much for subjecting yourself to the RANDOMNESS that is a Raine O'Tierney interview! Please don your best hat, and let's get started!

Thanks for having me Raine! I adore hats and never leave home without one. I have my black felt fedora for winter, white straw fedora for summer, and my favorite work hat—the Tilley—for gardening and knockabout. That’s the one I’m wearing in the picture of me at a Roman villa archaeology dig in Tuscany. It floats, it’s washable, and comes with a lifetime guarantee. (I receive no money for touting the Tilley—it’s just a great hat!)

What important thing would you give up in order to continue writing?

I’m not a “must write or die” person. I came to writing fiction in my middle age. Most of my various jobs required tons of writing but of the academic and business variety—I published my first article in a peer reviewed journal in 1980 with the inspiring title “Gifted and Talented Students in Vocational Education.” So I wouldn’t give up something really important like my family, my home, or chocolate. I could give up alcohol—it would probably make me a better writer!

What is your favorite literary quote?

That’s a tough one! There are so many great quotes about writing and life, but this one by Jane Austen gets at the heart of why I write what I do:

“History, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in… The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all.”  Catherine Morland, in Northanger Abbey, ch. 14

Describe your perfect lazy day.

Sleep late. Someone else feeds the cats and cleans the litterbox. Have a leisurely brunch and read at the Milk and Honey café. Stroll around the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with Nancy, a fellow gardening friend. Drinks and reading on the porch before dinner, interrupted by our neighbor’s three-year-old who wants to ride his scooter  in our driveway. I chat with my neighbor about her infant daughter and her garden and we make plans to get together next week. Husband and daughter make dinner or order in—I don’t have to think about it! Watch a movie with the family on TV—preferably a comedy or a classic. Bubble bath and book before bed.  Stay up late reading in bed to finish the book. 

You have 200 words—Make. Me. Swoon. (PLEASE!)

From Chapter 13 of Sword of the Gladiatrix:
“Is this what you want?” Afra put a warm hand on Cinnia’s cheek. “You have only today come back to yourself.”
“I don’t know.” Cinnia trapped the hand with own and kissed Afra’s palm. “I know only that I am new born today. I thrill to it. You have been my savior, my friend. Afra, you give me joy.”
They fumbled in the dark; pulling off their tunics, finding each other breast to breast, thighs entangled on the pallets.
Afra stroked Cinnia’s back and kissed her eyes. She tasted salt tears and pulled back.
“Why do you weep?”
“I’m happy.” Cinnia pulled her face down into a deep kiss. “I am happy your gods sent me to you.”
Afra laughed deep in her throat, almost a growl. She nuzzled Cinnia’s breasts, alternately sucking and biting on her nipples. They sprang up hard under her urging tongue.
Cinnia groaned.
An insistent ache spread from Afra’s groin.
Afra dropped lower, tongue flicking across Cinnia’s taut belly. She buried her face in the thatch of curly hair between Cinnia’s legs taking in the alluring scent of a sea creature, salty, ripe, reaching for the wet cave she knew was waiting.

If someone challenged you to a water-gun fight *to the death* how would you fare?

Depends on who the “someone” is. If it’s a youngster with quick reflexes, good eyes, and a steady hand? I’m soaked meat. If I’m up against someone with my own physical frailties? It’s a toss-up. An old man with a walker? MWHA HA HA!

Do you know any cool party tricks and are you brave enough to do them at parties?

I can bring a party to a dead stop with my history facts. “Did you know that the ancient Egyptians made beer by soaking barley bread in...Oh, your coat?...I think it’s upstairs…”

Give a shout-out to another author who may, or may not, know how much you appreciate them.

Linda Addison: friend, writer, and poet. Linda was the first African-American to win a HWA Bram Stoker Award and went on to win it three more times for her poetry collections. We’ve known each other for a quarter century: sharing writing, family crises, and joy. She moved from New York to Arizona last fall and I miss her! She’s working on a science fiction series which I can’t wait to read.

What is the hardest part of writing?

Getting my butt in chair and fingers on keyboard. In today’s connected world, it is so easy to get distracted and fritter the day away on the internet. Working at home doesn’t help. Stuck on a scene? Oh, there’s laundry! Or cats to play with. Or…you name it. I schedule a minimum of three hours—preferably in the morning before I look at email/Facebook/Twitter—that is dedicated to new writing (not rewriting!) I take my ancient laptop to the couch in the parlor (no TV, no Wi-Fi) and sit staring. Sometimes the words flow and I’m “in the zone.” Other times it’s like pulling teeth, but I sit there until I write one word, then the next, then the next. Each word gets easier.

Do you dance in the rain?

I used to, then we had a drought.

And finally, what kinds of dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds?

Rescues. Seriously people, don’t support puppy mills! Get your friends from a pound or shelter.


~ ~ ~

Author Name: Faith L. Justice
Book Name: Sword of the Gladiatrix
Release Date: May 2015
Pages or Words: 260 pages, 75,000 words
Categories: Gay Fiction, Historical, Lesbian Romance, Action/Adventure
Publisher: Raggedy Moon Books
Cover Artist: Todd Engle


From the far edges of the Empire, two women come to battle on the hot sands of the arena in Nero's Rome. They seek to replace lost friendship, love, and family in each other's arms; but the Roman arena offers only two futures: the Gate of Life for the victors or the Gate of Death for the losers.


A slave wraps my lower legs with felted wool and straps a gilded greave to my left shin, because I fight as myrmilla. He smells of sour sweat, as do I. I’ve already fought once today, tested fate, and won. The gold sand that Nero favors in the arena still crusts my hair and rasps the skin under my sweat-soaked breast band. I will go again before the ravenous crowds to satisfy their bloodlust. For what? An emperor’s whim? The crowd’s passing fancy? A sacrifice to their gods?
I swallow the bitter gall that surges into my mouth.
Across the room, another slave straps armor on Cinnia, my beloved. She looks at me with pride in her eyes and a brief smile on her lips. We said our goodbyes last night, clasped breast to breast, thigh to thigh, a stolen moment before being sent to our lonely cells. My heart beats an irregular rhythm.
My love. Light to my dark. Fire to my ice.
Cinnia is goddess-given to me; from a land of mists and forests, so different from my country of desert and blistering sun. Without her, I would be dead. Without me, so would she. We have suffered, struggled, lived, and loved. Now we go out upon the sands of the great arena to die. One by her lover’s hands, the other by her own.
It is not the life or death I chose for myself, but it is the one the gods gave me.

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What inspired you to write Sword of the Gladiatrix?
I love museums. I spend days wondering around and reading all the labels. When I visited the British Museum several years ago, I came across a stone carving, from the first or second century, found in Turkey. It showed two women named Achilla and Amazon fighting with swords and shields, their helmets on the ground. Female gladiators! At that time, I didn’t know they existed. (See my literary quote above: “…hardly any women at all.”) I researched the topic and found that females (in small numbers) fought regularly over a two hundred year period.

The image of those two women haunted me. They were real women who lived and died centuries ago. Who were they? Where did they come from? How did they feel about their lives? That’s when I decided to tell their story. Well, not their story—no one knows their background or fates. So I created my two characters Afra and Cinnia to stand in for those two women carved on the stone.

Is there anything special you’d like us to know about it?

I’m working on a sequel Song of the Gladiatrix which I hope to have out next year. In the meantime, I’ll have a fact-based historical coming out this fall called Twilight Empress. It’s the fascinating story of Galla Placidia who ruled Rome just before the “fall.” It’s got romance, war, political intrigue, rebellious children, and Attila the Hun.

What are your hopes for this title?

I hope it gives hours of pleasure to everyone who reads it. If they pick up a little history, as well, that’s gravy!

About the author:

FAITH L. JUSTICE writes award-winning novels, short stories, and articles in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in, Writer’s Digest, The Copperfield Review, the Circles in the Hair anthology, and many more. She is a frequent contributor to Strange Horizons, Associate Editor for Space and Time Magazine, and co-founded a writer’s workshop many more years ago than she likes to admit. For fun, she digs in the dirt—her garden and various archaeological sites.

Where to find the author:

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Rafflecopter Prize: Copy of ‘Sword of the Gladiatrix’ by Faith L. Justice

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  1. An entertaining and most informative interview. Thanks, and have a great book launch, Faith.

    1. Thanks for following the tour WallyR!

  2. Hi Faith glad to meet you. I am a newbie and look forward to read this book.

  3. Hi Felicia! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, It's been a whirlwind of a tour. I hope you enjoy the book and feel free to get in touch with me at my website or other social media if you have any questions. I love to interact with readers!