Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great, 323 BC

Very soon my manuscript of "Shadow of the Lion" will begin is journey out into the world.  It's been a long adventure that has taken as many years to complete as it did for Alexander to conquer the world.  He had many victories, no defeats, until death took him unexpectedly and suspiciously at the age of 33 in Babylon.  That is where my journey began, and it retraced his footsteps all the way back to Macedon ending in the year 310 BC. 

I've enjoyed the journey.  Being a travel writer as well as a writer of historical fiction, I used some of my research trips as an opportunity to write travel stories as well.  And I have written journals full of the details of these adventures.  My acknowledgements in the front of the novel will include thanks to the many people who helped me with my research including the Greeks themselves: the Greek Ministry of Culture, and Ministry of Tourism (who provided me with a free ticket to Greece in 1993 to complete my research), and an interview granted at the Society of Macedonian Studies in Thessaloniki.  As well, I had help from the Finnish Institute, my friend Petra who was assistant director at the time who helped me get a museum pass,  and Margaret, a friend who worked at the British School Library who granted me permission to research in their archives.  I also got a chance to research at the Gennadius Library and had help from a great many other Classical scholars and friends in Greece who cheered me on and gave me so much encouragement.

During the long process of writing the novel I was helped by my Scribblers Writing Critique Group who did as always an expert job of helping me edit and improve the text.  Without their encouragement I may have given up on it a long time ago, expect that I had this burning need to tell the story of what happened after Alexander died.  Long ago I read Mary Renault's"Funeral Games" and always felt that it was lacking, somehow, compared to many of her other excellent novels, especially "Fire From Heaven".  I had been 'in love with' Alexander since the age of 16 and inspired to write about him.  My first Alexander themed novel was written when I was in my last year of high school and that got me started on pursuing the story of his life.  "Shadow of the Lion" is what happened to his only legal heir and all the others close to him after his death, ending with the fall of his dynasty. I was lucky to live in Greece for part of the time I was researching and able to visit all of the places there, and some in Asia Minor, where the story takes place.  The rest , Iraq (Babylon) Syria and Egypt (Alexandria) I had to rely on texts, videos and lots of research to set the stage. 

As I reach the end of the task, now polishing the synopsis, I am feeling this great sense of relief and the urge to set it free so I can move on to my next project, an half-finished novel that also has an Alexander theme, which I set aside in order to work on Shadow.  This one is a Celtic novel, told in the first person, "Dragons in the Sky".  And then I am planning to write another about Alexander's mother, Olympias. That one will be titled "The Black Dove".  

I'm not traveling to Greece this summer as I usually do because I invested my money in a professional editor who has done a magnificent job of helping me fine-tune the novel.  So now I send it on it's way I hope that a publisher will pick it up and give it the publicity it deserves.  If that fails, after a good try, I'll consider self-publishing.  I know Shadow of the Lion is an excellent novel and it is almost what you would call my 'life's work'.  So it deserves to be shown to a wide audience.