Welcome to the Australia Day Giveaway Hop!
From January 25th to 28th, over fifty book and writing blogs will be giving away books by Aussie writers.
Head on over to our host Book’d Out to check out the list of links to participating sites and bloggers, and maybe find a few great book blogs while you’re doing it!
Meanwhile, here is my contest:
WIN A COPY OF LOVE AND ROMANPUNK!
This collection of stories about Roman superheroes, monsters, dead empresses and lovelorn lamia was published by Twelfth Planet Press in 2011 and includes the multi-award-winning story “The Patrician” as well as several others in the same universe (or as I like to call it, the Agrippinaverse).
While the ebook is still very much for sale (notably at Wizard Tower Books), the print version has sold out and is currently unavailable, making my dwindling pile of author copies a rare resource.
To Enter: comment here on this post, email me at tansyrr @gmail.com or tweet me at @tansyrr to let me know your Favourite Monster of All Time. I’ll put all the entries into a hat for one of my very random daughters to select a winner.
Entries close at midnight (AEST) on Monday 28th January 2013 and I will announce the winner within 7 days. Anyone can enter, worldwide.
It’s Black Friday (for Americans) and Doctor Who Day for everyone! Yes, 49 years ago today, a certain weird little science fiction show started on British TV. I’m already underway on my WHO-50 project to celebrate the fiftieth year, but in the mean time I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Doctor Who than to check out Kmasca’s awesome Doctor Who Barbie collection, costumes courtesy of the 1980’s Doctor Who Pattern Book.
I also squeed mightily this week when Love and Romanpunk was featured on the SF Squeecast. Thanks to Lynne and Seanan for saying such lovely things about my beloved purple book, and Twelfth Planet Press in general. I also really enjoyed listening to Paul Cornell raving about Quatermass, and what it contributed to British culture and SF television in general.
A powerful piece from Kyrax2, the writer and fan often referred to as ‘the Comicon Batgirl’ about what actually might be going on with the official DC antipathy towards the character of Stephanie Brown: We hear you, so shut up already!
Tim Coronel, former publisher of Bookseller and Publisher magazine, talks about the changing face of publishing, especially in Australia – some sobering and interesting stuff! – at the Wheeler Centre.
Meanwhile Joel Naoum from Momentum talks about what he thinks readers actually want from e-books – BOOKS, who’d have thought? Thanks Sean the Blogonaut for passing this link on, I think I will be reading this blog regularly now.
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The Finnish science fiction community has organised a Facebook-based book-buying spree to support Cheryl Morgan and her Wizard’s Tower ebook store. (look, you can go straight to her store and avoid Facebook, that’s two good deeds!) Cheryl curates a fabulous selection of e-books, with an emphasis on literary/small press SF and fantasy, and a diverse range of feminist, queer and not-just-from-UK-and-US authors.
I just bought Karin Tidbeck’s Jagannath after hearing Jonathan & Gary talk about the book on the Coode Street Podcast yesterday. Not quite an impulse buy, but I’m still very excited to read it. I can also highly recommend Beyond Binary by Brit Mandelo, Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories by Sandra McDonald, Ishtar by our own Deborah Biancotti, Kaaron Warren and Cat Sparks, and the Tiptree-award winning Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston.
Also, you know, there’s this:
Some links of things to do with me (tangentially or otherwise) on the internet this week:
A very positive review of Beyond Binary at i09 – doesn’t mention my story at all (sniff) but it’s great to see such a positive reaction to this book, which I’m very proud to be part of.
Our Sean (yes, he’s ours!) has interviewed New Zealand fantasy author Helen Lowe for Galactic Chat.
A lovely, witty review of Love and Romanpunk – again, I’ve been so pleased at the critical reception for this book, and so very proud of it. I am always interested in the way that readers pick a favourite from the collection (there’s something about the four story suite in particular, I think, that makes people pick out one sweetie over the rest).
Over at Doctor Her, I’m back on the Domesticating the Doctor kick with a short essay about Human Nature/Family of Blood and the Doctor vs. Domesticity. Next one will tackle the Ponds, really truly, I’m not avoiding it or anything!
While we were away RORing (and I am still planning a post on the retreat, honest!) the new issue of Locus came out – and I had forgotten that as it was February, that meant Recommended Reading List! Yee-haw!
Yes, I am a diehard Locus Recommended Reading List fangirl. It’s where I got my book recs from before the blogosphere inserted itself into my brain. Which is why it was so exciting for me to appear on there twice – under Collection for Love and Romanpunk, and Short Story for “The Patrician.” Heady stuff! The Collection recommendation is especially exciting, as I’ve never had a whole BOOK recommended by the Locus crew. And it really didn’t hurt to be poring over the list with fellow recommendee Margo Lanagan over our breakfast bowls…
I’m really excited and proud about how much positive response I have got from people about “The Patrician” – it’s a story that felt right when I was writing it, so it’s fantastic to see it mentioned several times in this issue of Locus, by reviewers whose opinions I greatly respect. The book as a whole has gone very well too – Alisa told me this week that she opened the last box of Love and Romanpunk! How exciting is that, for a small press title to be so close to selling out, less than a year after its release?
Jason Nahrung points out all the Aussies on the list. It’s lovely to see such a diverse range of Australian authors mentioned – that is, old favourites as well as new names. And lots of women! I was particularly excited to see Thoraiya Dyer and Jo Anderton on their for their work, so early in their careers – potential Campbell nominees, perhaps? But congratulations to everyone to made it, especially those of you who are friends. Cos, you know. I like my talented friends BEST OF ALL.
It occurs to me belatedly that I should do a summary post with links for those who didn’t get a chance to catch up on my crazy Rock the Romanpunk week while I was putting out several essay-length posts every day!
Here they are, then.
Matrons of Awesome: 50 Women of Ancient Rome
Part I – The Raptae
Part II – Republican Mothers
Part III – Republican Vixens
Part IV – Good and Evil at the End of the Republic
Part V – Romana Princeps
Part VI: Imperial Daughters and Many Small Islands
Part VII: Sex, Scandal and Bloodshed
Part VIII – Agrippina
Part IX – Forgotten Daughters, Brigitte Bardot, and Claudian Goddesses
Part X – Flavian Ladies
Part XI – Trajan’s Matrons
Part XII – Good Wives and the Gladiators
Part XIII – Between the Dynasties
Part XIV – A Surfeit of Julias
Part XV – Saint Helena
and while we’re at it, some silly ones:
Rocking the Romanpunk, one fanvid at a time.
Kermit Tours the Romanpunk
Mark Antony Strips the Romanpunk
Cleopatra Sings the Romanpunk
Brutus and Cassius Slash the Romanpunk
Bad Emperors Dance the Romanpunk
Supersizers Eat the Romanpunk
and don’t forget all this was an excuse for me to talk about my book, Love and Romanpunk…
Love and Romanpunk is an e-book now!
Love and Romanpunk is Kindled
Sneak peeks at the stories in Love and Romanpunk
In closing I’d like to give a shout out to Doctor Who, which managed in its season finale to totally out-romanpunk me, even more than last year. And last year gave me Roman autons, the Last Centurion and River Song as Cleopatra! (Two years before that it was Donna speaking Latin, Vesuvius and Karen Gillan as a soothsayer) Hard to beat Winston Churchill as Caesar on a mammoth, though.
Sigh. If only they could have afforded a mammoth.
I've been in this room! Check out the Flavian Lady in the background. Best room in the Musei Capitolini.
The end of the Severan dynasty pretty much concludes the period of Roman history that I know anything about. However, I promised 50, which means one more to go… and though there are many interesting women of the later Roman Empire, if you’re only going to choose one, then it’s fairly obvious whom that one should be.
After the death of Alexander, Rome fell into a time of chaos brought about by very short imperial reigns, assassination, political plotting and civil strife. No emperor since the Severans had managed to found a stable dynasty, which meant that the role of women had been quite limited in the public political sphere.
Helena was the daughter of a tavern-keeper, which in social terms put her somewhere between freedwomen and prostitutes. As a teenager, she fell in love far above her station, with an ambitious young soldier called Constantius Chlorus, and she lived with him as a common law wife, though legal marriage was impossible because of the gulf in status between them both.
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So those who have read the lead story in Love and Romanpunk know that the book has a fixation on the name ‘Julia.’ It’s not just because that name was attached to so many women of the first, Julio-Claudian era, or because, thanks to the various Caesars, it had a great many sacred and significant connotations in its own right.
There was another dynasty which cemented the importance of the name Julia, and it marked a huge change in the image that Roman imperial families showed to the world.
41. Julia Domna
When ambitious African-born Roman general Septimius Severus heard of a horoscope for a young woman named Julia that predicted she would marry a king, he hurried across country to court her. Julia Domna was the Syrian daughter (of Arab descent) of the high priest of a sun god. She not only married Septimius but also bore him two sons, Caracalla and Geta. She was a highly intelligent, educated woman who served as a valued advisor to her husband.
Some time later, Septimius brought the horoscope to fruition by using his military and political skills to make himself emperor of Rome. Which is… one way to do it. Ah, Romans. We say they were supersitious, but really they just used the supernatural as a ‘how to’ guide.
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Thanks to everyone who has been tweeting or emailing me to say how much you have been enjoying the Matrons of Awesome series, and the Rock the Romanpunk posts generally. Normal service of the blog will be resumed as of Monday.
I didn’t end up doing any Films Romana posts (where I do in-depth reviews of the portrayal of Ancient Rome in old Hollywood films) because reworking the Matrons of Awesome posts took way more time this week than I expected. So tried to make up for that with a bunch of YouTube vids. There is much Romanpunk rocking in the world right now!
I’m only sad that I haven’t yet watched enough of Spartacus: Blood and Sand & Gods of the Arena, because I’m sure the fanvids for that are *awesome*.
Oh and cheers to Sean the Blogonaut, who reviewed the e-book version of Love and Romanpunk only a couple of hours ago. It’s also excellent timing that the books has been reviewed in Locus for a second time in the issue that came out today – this time, by Rich Horton. Hooray! It’s awesome to see this little book getting attention.
For those of you on the fence about whether Love and Romanpunk is a book that is for you, I thought I’d post some brief excerpts of the four stories. It should give you a sense for what you will be in for – I tried to pick bits that aren’t too spoilery, and used it as an excuse to scroll through my lovely new e-version on the Kindle, to find some of my favourite lines from the stories.
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When Antoninus Pius was adopted as Hadrian’s heir, he already had a wife and daughter, both called Faustina.
A condition of Antoninus’ adoption was that he in turn adopt two men chosen by Hadrian: Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. But Marcus Aurelius and Faustina also managed to break the adoptive tradition of the emperors by having a son of their own. And what a son! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
33. Faustina Major
the apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina
Antoninus’s wife Faustina didn’t make much of an impact on the imperial family, as she died within a couple of years of her husband’s reign. She is notable, however, for getting the title of Augusta almost immediately, making her the first imperial wife since Domitia who didn’t have to wait several years for this honour.
Faustina’s posthumous life is more memorable – she was deified by her husband, and became something of a patron goddess for the whole Antonine family, with an unprecedented number of coin types released in her honour.
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