Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sword of the Gladiatrix by Faith L. Justice - Book Tour with Author post and Giveaway

Author Name: Faith L. Justice
Book Name: Sword of the Gladiatrix
Publisher: Raggedy Moon Books
Cover Artist: Todd Engle

Release Date: May, 2015


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.

Pages or Words: 260 pages, 75,000 words

Categories: Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, Lesbian Romance, Action/Adventure


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.

Sales Links: Worldwide (US, UK, Canada) 
CreateSpace (print only)
iBooks (ebook only)
Kobo (ebook only)
Smashwords (ebooks--all formats)

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:

Q & A with author Faith L. Justice

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Faith L. Justice, author of Sword of the Gladiatrix. Hi Faith, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Thanks so much for having me here at Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews. I have a soft spot for faeries. One of my first free-lance sales was “A Delight of Fairies: Books on Fairy Lore and Art.” As you might guess, I’m a science fiction/fantasy fan. I write most of my short fiction in that genre, but my novels come from a love of history. I knocked around a bit and worked as a lifeguard, paralegal, systems analyst, human resources executive, and college professor before settling into full-time writing. I live in Brooklyn with my family and the required gaggle of cats. For fun, I like to dig in the dirt—my garden and various archaeological sites.

My current book is an action adventure, lesbian romance set during Nero’s reign. A departure for me. I usually write novels based on real historical women—ones who should be in the history books but aren’t. Sword of the Gladiatrix features two fictional characters from the far ends of the Roman Empire: Afra, scout and beast master to the Queen of Kush; and Cinnia, warrior-bard and companion to Queen Boudica of the British Iceni. Both try to replace lost friendship and love in each other's arms, but fate intervenes. Before they complete their journeys, I toss in a pair of trained hunting cheetahs, a nasty snake dancing bitch, a natural disaster or two, a neurotic emperor, and several gladiator fights.

Whenever I pitched this book as my “lesbian gladiator novel,” I encountered raised eyebrows and skeptical snorts. The first question everyone asked: “Were there really lesbian gladiators?” My answer: “Of course!” We know there were females fighting in arenas for a couple of centuries, although far fewer than men. Some had to be lesbian. What really surprised people was the fact of female gladiators. They rarely appear in popular culture. Despite the popularity of Xena Warrior Princess and the myths of the Amazons, they don’t come to mind in the media-soaked imaginings of brutal, bloody, gladiatorial games. Women warriors? Maybe. Women gladiators? No. Yet they are there in classical literature, art, grave markers, and archaeology. All you have to do is look.

1)      What genre is your book and what drew you to this genre?

Historical fiction with a dash of action adventure and romance. Like a lot of authors, I write books I’d like to read. I grew up reading historical fiction—much more exciting that the history texts in school. As I grew older, I read more straight history and noticed something depressing: nearly all the subjects were men and their accomplishments (usually in battle)! There were a few queens—Cleopatra, Elizabeth, Marie Antoinette—and a couple of fictional characters like Betsy Ross, but not much else.

When I started digging, I found all sorts of fascinating women—scientists, generals, pirates, mathematicians, Empresses, courtesans, spies, adventurers—too many to write about in one lifetime. I wanted to share their stories with a general audience, so historical fiction was the right fit. It allows me to tell women’s stories—specific and general—from all classes and situations. A lot of historical fiction focusses on the lives of the elite. Sword of the Gladiatrix deals with the lives of slaves, servants, and lower class Romans. The nobles make only token appearances.

2)     How many days a week do you write?

Five at a minimum. This is my full-time job, so I treat it that way. I get up, feed the cats and myself and am at my writing computer by 10 am. I write (new words only—no rewriting!) until 1. Not all new writing is on novels. I have short stories, reviews, blog posts, free-lance articles, etc. I’m trying to up my time on novel writing because I have so many ideas. I also fiercely protect these three hours—no phones, no internet, no family. I just now had to throw my husband out of my office. He wanted to share good news about one of his projects. I told him to wait till lunch and shut my door. (Don’t worry about our marriage; he smiled and said he’d buy me lunch!)

Afternoons are for miscellaneous publishing projects: rewriting, proofing, marketing, interior layout, and research. Research is one of my most fun activities. I spend weeks reading and taking notes on all kinds of topics. I try to knock off by six. Sometimes I write on the weekends if I’m on a roll, but with the nice weather, I spend more time gardening than in my office.

3)     On average, how long does it take to write a book?

It took me a year to write the first draft of my first novel Selene of Alexandria. I wrote primarily in airports and hotels rooms because I had a demanding executive job and an infant at that time. It took another two years to rewrite and polish in my odd moments. It took about the same for my second novel Twilight Empress (which will be out this fall). Sword of the Gladiatrix is shorter and didn’t require as much research. It took me about a year from start to finish. In contrast, now that I’m writing full-time, I plowed through a first draft of a companion book to Twilight Empress in two months. It should only take a month or two to rewrite and polish so between four and six months. I expect to have Dawn Empress out next year. Next up is a sequel to Gladiatrix. I love those characters and can’t get them out of my head!

4)     Do you have a trailer for your book? If yes, give us the link. If not, do you think you’d like to have one done at some point?

I don’t at this time, but hope to have one in the future. My talented daughter did one for Selene of Alexandria (link here). She’s now graduated from college and has a full-time job, so less time to help out Dear Old Mum. I may have to break down and hire someone else.

5)     If I could be a character in a book, I would be…

Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series: smart, brave, talented (“the cleverest witch of her generation”) and I certainly would NOT marry Ron Weasley! He’s a nice guy, but I could do much better or not marry at all. Ministry of Magic, here I come!

I want to thank you again for having me as a guest on your blog. Many hours of great reading to you all!

Tour Dates & Stops:











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

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