Thursday, September 3, 2009

Michelle Moran Guest Blog + Giveaway - CLOSED

Your regularly scheduled Fun Friday is being interrupted, but it will return as usual next week.

Instead, today we have the wonderful Michelle Moran joining us! Michelle is the author of
Cleopatra's Daughter, which comes out on September 15th and looks incredible. And because she is awesome, she agreed to do a guest post for me on how she came up with the idea for Cleopatra's Daughter.

* * * * *

Why Cleopatra’s daughter?

It all began with a dive. Not the kind of dive you take into a swimming pool, but the kind where you squeeze yourself into a wetsuit and wonder just how tasty your rump must appear to passing sharks now that it looks like an elephant seal. My husband and I had taken a trip to Egypt, and at the suggestion of a friend, we decided to go to Alexandria to see the remains of Cleopatra’s underwater city. Let it be known that I had never gone scuba diving before, but after four days with an instructor (and countless questions like, “Will there be sharks? How about jellyfish? If there is an earthquake, what happens underwater?”) we were ready for the real thing.

We drove one morning to the Eastern Harbor in Alexandria. Dozens of other divers were already there, waiting to see what sort of magic lay beneath the waves. I wondered if the real thing could possibly live up to all of the guides and brochures selling this underwater city, lost for thousands of years until now. Then we did the dive, and it was every bit as magical as everyone had promised. We saw the blocks that once formed Marc Antony’s summer palace, came face to face with Cleopatra’s enigmatic sphinx, and floated above ten thousand ancient artifacts, including obelisks, statues, and countless amphorae. By the time we surfaced, I was Cleopatra-obsessed. I wanted to know what had happened to her city once she and Marc Antony had committed suicide. Where did all of its people go? Were they allowed to remain or were they killed by the Romans? And what about her four children?

It was this last question that surprised me the most. I had always assumed that Cleopatra’s children had all been murdered. But the Roman conqueror, Octavian, actually spared the three she bore to Marc Antony: her six-year-old son, Ptolemy, and her ten-year-old twins, Alexander and Selene. As soon as I learned that Octavian had taken the three of them to Rome for his Triumph, I knew at once I had my next book. And when I discovered what Cleopatra’s daughter lived through while in exile – rebellion, loss, triumph, love - I absolutely couldn’t wait to start writing. I can only hope that the novel is as exciting and intriguing as the research proved to be. It may be two thousand years in the past, but a great love story, as they say, is timeless.

* * * * *


Thanks for telling us a little more about the story behind your book, Michelle! Doesn't it sound awesome? To learn more about Michelle, check out her blog or her website.

Michelle's blog.
Michelle's Website.

Now, on to the giveaway.

Michelle is generous enough to let me give away two books and a little something extra. The first book is a hardcover copy of the book you just learned a little more about, Cleopatra's Daughter.

Cleopatra's Daughter

Cleopatra's Daughter follows the incredible life of Cleopatra's surviving children with Marc Antony - twins, named Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene, and a younger son named Ptolemy. All three were taken to Rome and paraded through the streets, then sent off to be raised by Octavia (the wife whom Marc Antony left for Cleopatra). Raised in one of the most fascinating courts of all time, Cleopatra's children would have met Ovid, Seneca, Vitruvius (who inspired the Vitruvian man), Agrippa (who built the Pantheon), Herod, his sister Salome, the poets Virgil, Horace, Maecenas and so many others!

(Summary from goodreads and tweaked the tiniest bit because it's not a great summary but the other one is way long.)

The second book Michelle is offering you guys is a paperback copy of her first book, The Heretic Queen.

The Heretic Queen

In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past and remake history.

The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family—all with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.

Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

(Summary from goodreads.)


Isn't that the one of the most gorgeous covers you've ever seen? The other paperback cover (I'm not sure which one the winner will receive, sorry guys) is really nice, too.

As if that's not awesome enough, the first place prize will also include these.

Aren't those gorgeous? I'm rather jealous of whoever wins. I would wear those in a heartbeat.

About the second place prize: The runner-up will win bookmarks and bookplates from Michelle. Because she's awesome. (As I've said a time or two.)

Now, this is open to everyone until Tuesday September 15th, 2009, when Cleopatra's Daughter comes out.

How to enter:

Leave a comment with your email address. No email address, no entry, but of course you can email me at Laina1312@gmail.com if you're not comfortable posting your email address.

Extra entries:
+5 Tell me an ancient Egypt themed joke. The cornier, the better.
+1 Become a follower. (If you use a feed reader such as Google Reader, that's fine, you just need to tell me.)
+2 Be a current follower (Again, Google Reader or another feed reader is fine, just tell me.)
+1 Follow me on Twitter. Remember to tell me who you are so I know you are.
+2 Be a current follower on Twitter.
+2 Link to this post somewhere. You can do that in a blog post, in your blog sidebar, on Twitter, on a message board, whatever you can think of, but it only counts once per place. (The reason I do say is because if one person has twitter or anything, really, and links to it 30 times, it's not fair to other people. This keeps things even.) Don't forget to leave me the link.
+1 Tell me where you heard about this contest. If you heard about it from someone else, they'll get an extra entry. It counts as an extra entry if you heard about it from following me.
+1 If someone hears about it from you.
+1 Comment! Every time you leave a comment on a new post, one that's dated after this one, you'll get one extra entry. Old comments don't count and comments on old posts, while appreciated, won't get you extra entries. You do not need to add this up, I will do it for you when the contest is over.
+1 Secret criteria.

Okay, so once again it's open to EVERYONE until September 15th, 2009. It'll close at 11:59pm on the 15th, and I'll use random.org to choose the winners.

Get entering!!
Peace and cookies,
Laina