Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: An Amazing Year of Accomplishment!


Signing the contract for the Athens Guide e-book

Here we are at the end of the year and on the brink of new opportunities.  2014 has opened new doors for me and I know, as I enter the New Year that the way is cleared for me to follow. It’s going to be even more exciting than this year has been.

It all started last February when I received an unusual phone call from Montreal offering me a trip to Egypt (which at first I thought was a scam). It was true, though. I was offered a trip to Egypt by Egyptian tourism to write favorable travel stories.  None of it seemed ‘real’ right through until mid March when the dream trip came true and I found myself sailing down the Nile, crossing the Sahara, lounging by the Red Sea,  visiting the amazing pyramids of Giza and finally, a specially arranged trip to Alexandria.
Visiting the Temple of Hatshepsut

Me and Alexander at Alexandria
You can read my Egypt blogs here: http://travelthroughhistory.blogspot.com

I was barely catching my breath from that amazing adventure when, in August, my novel SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON was published. Wow! It had been a long, 15 year journey to finally see it in print. (Second volume comes out in 2016). And the incredible thing was, it came out at the same time the archaeologists in Greece announced the discovery of the huge tomb in Amphipolis, which happens to be the setting in part of my story. I was so excited to get my book that a friend drove me down to the States to pick up one she had ordered at Pt. Roberts. What an exciting day that was!
 The book has arrived!


By the end of August I set off for England and Wales, first to visit my relatives in Caerphilly and then to attend the Historical Novel Writer’s Conference in London. While at the conference, who should I run into but Margaret George, one of the famous historical writers who I had spoken to a couple of years ago at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference. At that time she had told me not to worry about the length of my novel, just to keep writing it. (Her books are at least 1000 pgs long!). So imagine how surprised she was when I spoke to her again and told her I ended up with a two-book contract because my book was too long. She was very pleased and we had a nice chat about our writing. (She said she is now being asked to keep her current work in progress down to 400 pages!)

The statue of Alexander in Thessaloniki
Relaxing on the beach at Asprovalta

After my stay in London I headed for Greece. First I headed up north to Thessaloniki to attend local poet/friend’s book launch (Manolis Aligazakis is a Greek/Can award winning poet and will be reading at my book launch in January). I spent a couple of days exploring Thessaloniki and then headed for a few days by the beach at Asprovalta. My purpose for going there was, it was close to Amphipolis and i wanted to see if I could visit the tomb. So I took a taxi and the driver showed me all around. I’d been there twice before but this time I was shown more archaeological sites including a distant view of the famed tomb. 

Distant view of the tomb, Amphipolis
Back in Athens I was warmly received by my friends as well as some of the Greek people who had heard about my book (thanks to my friends who had done some promo work for me!) So I was invited to do a reading at the Athens Centre which included a nice reception in the courtyard. A good crowd attended including people from the Canadian Archaeological Society.

At the Athens Centre.

After that I went up to Larissa where I had been invited to present my book at a World Poetry Peace Conference. That was another special event thanks to Ariadne Sawyer who had introduced me to Chryssa Velissariou who heads World Poetry in Greece.


Young musicians perform at Larissa World Poetry Peace Conference'

Then it was time for some leisure, although I had work to do for the Athens Guide e-book that I was working on so I spent a lot of time checking out new places around Athens including some nice restaurants and wine bars. Meanwhile also doing more book promo, going with my friend Dina to the New Acropolis Museum library, Finnish Institute and checking out other places that might be interested in my book.  My  hostess at the Villa Olympia (Carole) kindly purchased 10 books so there were some available to friends in Athens who wanted to purchase one.
My Friends in Athens

Dina and her family, the two Andreases and young A's girlfriend.

Zoe and me

Carola, Chris and Kim
The whole gang at To Kati Allo
 While in Greece I visited a few days on the island of Salamina (where the famous Battle of Salamis took place in the 5th century BC between the Greek and Persian navy). Christina and I went explore to find some of the archaeological sites and one of the big thrills was coming upon a ‘dig’ and talking in length to the archaeologist who was very interested in hearing about my book.
Christina and me

The archaeology site, unearthing a memorial to Ajax.

Thanks to my friend Zoe, I was put in touch with the principal of the American Community School in Athens and he was happy to arrange a reading for me with the students. So I did two readings at the school for two double-sized Grade 9 kids who were very receptive and appreciative.
The students gave me a beautiful silk scarf

I returned to Canada in October after a few days stop in Germany to see my friend Patrick.  He arranged with his friends for us to go on a tour of the Rhine castles and we also went to the city of Worms so I could gather more travel story material.

Patrick, Juergen and me
Since returning I have done a couple of book readings thanks to my writer friend Eileen Kernaghan (we shared readings) and have made other contacts including that of the Consul of Greece, Ilias Kremmydas, who will sponsor my book launch in January.
After I returned I was also awarded an ‘inspired writer’s’ award from the World Poetry – a mini gold Oscar. That was another cause for celebration! And in December I was invited back on Ariadne Sawyer’s World Poetry radio show for another interview. (That was the second time this year!)
At the awards.
On the Air
My three morning classes “Write from the Heart” went well this past term and will begin again in January as well as (hopefully) a couple of night-school classes thru Langara. I am also doing one-on-one writing coaching and plan to do a travel writing workshop at home. And, I was just offered a job editing a non-fiction manuscript. So I enter the New Year with a lot of interesting things to look forward to.

This year I published 22 travel articles. Got my book published (volume one). Was elected president of the BC Assoc. of Travel Writers. I joined the Canadian Author’s Assoc. and was accepted as a ‘professional’ writer. ( I will soon join the Writers Union of Canada too. ) Finished the Athens Guide e-book for Hunter Publishing US and I look forward to lots more writing in 2015. Mainly I want to finish my current work-in-progress “Dragons in the Sky”.

You can order my book on Amazon.com or ask at your local bookstores

What I’m looking forward to most now is my official book launch on January 14 at the Hellenic Community Centre, sponsored by the Greek Consul. This is such an honour for me and very exciting!
Everyone is invited: 7 pm at the Hellenic Community Centre 4500 Arbutus behind the Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

Here’s to 2015!  The doors are opening wide! Let’s hope it’s another year of great opportunities and success!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


My first stop overseas was a visit to my cousin's in Wales.  One night we had a small get-together in a pub and one of my cousins brought her copy of SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON  for me to sign.  That was a thrill, signing my very first book, and with my special golden Horus pen that I'd bought in Egypt.
 After attending the Historical Novel Writers Conference in London (Set 5,6) I went to Greece to visit, promote SHADOW and do some research for the Athens Guide e-book I'm working on for an American publisher.

My first stop in Greece was a quick trip up to Thessaloniki where I attended a poetry book launch of a Vancouver Greek/Can poet friend Manolis Aligizakis. The next day I delivered a copy of SHADOW to the Society of Macedonian studies and then I toured around the city. This included a stop at the statue of Alexander the Great at the harbour of course, and later a tour around to see Kamal Ataturk's house and some other sights.

I was very fortunate to be received so heartily by the Greeks and was invited by the directors, in particular Joanna Theiakou, to do a reading at the Athens Centre (Sept 24) after which there was a reception.  There was a very good attendance and this included some people from the Canadian Archaeological Institute.  I have to thank my friend Zoe Loukopoulous for setting this up for me and putting me in touch with the right people.

Two days later I headed up to Larissa where I was invited to present my book at a World Poetry Peace conference. I spent a delightful evening there with Chryssa Velissariou, my hostess and friends. Then back to Athens on the train the next day. That contact was thanks to Ariadne Sawyer who is in charge of World Poetry here in Vancouver. I have been on her radio program and she introduced me to Chyrssa through FB.

Also thanks to my friend Zoe, I was put in touch with Steve Madeiros, dean of the American Community School in Athens.  We had a meeting and he was enthusiastic about me coming to read to the students. So on my last day in Athens I went and read to two double-sized grade nine kids. They were very receptive, asking interesting questions.  All the staff at the school were so warm and friendly and I really enjoy my morning there. 

Most of my time in Greece was spent in Athens either planning the readings or doing research for the Athens Guide. I did make a 3 day visit to Salamina and enjoyed exploring archaeological sites with my friend Christina.  And one day my friend Carole Barkas, hostess of the B&B where I was staying, invited me to join her on a senior tour up the coast to visit 3 volcanic islands off the north tip of Euboeia.  Carole had also invited me to read for a couple of her reading group friends. And she was very helpful in promoting the book, even ordered a box to sell for me there.

I stopped in at Mainz, Germany for a couple of days enroute home to visit my friend Patrick and do more touring for travel articles material. Then home.  And the excitement continued.

On Oct 19 I was awarded an 'empowered writers' award at the World Poetry Peace Poethon here in Vancouver.  I have a certificate and cute little golden 'Oscar' which sits on the coffee table by SHADOW. That was thanks to Ariadne Sawyer who nominated me for the award. A big honour!

Meanwhile the publisher says he has sent a copy of the book to Oliver Stone because so many people say what a great movie or TV series it would make!  And the Greek Consul, Mr Ilias Kremmydas, has been helping me organize my official book launch which will be on January 14 at the Hellenic Centre here in Vancouver. Meanwhile he told me to send my info to the Greek attache in Ottawa and she has responded with an invitation for me to come to the East (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto) on a reading tour as there are large Greek communities there. I am definitely going to plan for that and will organize something with her for later in the Spring.

I did one reading here when I got back, and there's another coming up in two weeks.  I have been busy sending out promo material about the book and will be seeing my brother-in-law this weekend as he has offered to be my publicist.  Lots to do even though the book is published so there seems no end to it and I'll appreciate the help.

Remember you can get the books at local bookstores if you ask them to order it. In the States or UK they may be on the shelves of main bookstores. In Canada Coles or Chapters will order them. Or get them thru Amazon.com   The local libraries will also be stocking them.

Friday, August 29, 2014


To celebrate the publication of SHADOW (volume 1) I had a little reception and invited some of my most supportive friends to share the afternoon with me. Everyone was really thrilled to actually hold the book in their hands. It looks so impressive and I can hardly believe, when I skim through it, that I wrote all those words!

I'm just about to set off on another adventure, this time partly a book-promo for SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON,  partly for new travel writing material including some research for the Athens Guide e-book I'm working on for a US publisher.

It's been exciting so far, planning the trip. First I'm going to London to attend the Historical Fiction Writer's Conference in London Sept 5 and 6.  Between then and arrival Sept 1 I'll be in Caerphilly Wales visiting cousins.  I leave London Sept 8 for Greece and immediately will go up north to Thessaloniki first to attend a Greek/Can friend's poetry presentation and then to visit the Society of Macedonian Studies and tell them about my book. 

Then I'm going to stop by the archaeological site of Pella for some research for my current w.i.p. and retrace some of my research steps to Amphipolis where they have discovered the famous tomb (probably one of Alexander's generals). Part of book one and most of book two THE FIELDS OF HADES (to be published in 2016) are set in Amphipolis.

During my stay in Athens I'll be doing a reading at the Athens Centre on Sept 24 and then I'm going up to Larissa to a World Poetry Conference on Sept 27 to present my book there. I was recently nominated for an award by the World Poetry and will present my book when I return on Oct 19 at Simon Fraser Uni. downtown campus.

Everything is happening so fast it's breathtaking. And I hope the book sells well. It should now be available through bookstores and libraries. If you don't see if on the shelves, ask if they can order it for you thru Amazon.com

Check out the blog for SHADOW at http://shadowofthelion.com

Friday, August 08, 2014

SHADOW OF THE LION: Blood on the Moon, Now available on Amazon.com

Here's the big news:  
SHADOW OF THE LION, Blood on the Moon is listed on Amazon. Surprised it's a hard cover. Pretty exciting though! Official release day, August 11.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014


What Have I Been Doing?

Signing the e-book contract
My goodness! It's been six months since I contributed anything to this blog. Meanwhile I have been posting on my travel blog at http://travelthroughhistory.blogspot.com  But it's time to catch up here with all the news that has been happening which is part of the reason I've not taken the time to post blogs on Living the Writer's Life.

First, besides my book contract for SHADOW OF THE LION (Volume One "Blood on the Moon" will be out by mid August!) I also signed a contract to work on an Athens Guide e-book for Hunter Publishing, US. This is exciting as Athens is like my second home. I'll be returning there in September and while there will do more extensive research for the Guide. Meanwhile, I have most of it written and the publisher is pleased!

Unfortunatly, I haven't had any time at all to work on "DRAGONS IN THE SKY" my Celtic tale. But I'm about to start a new chapter just as soon as I can clear my writing desk of the various projects at hand.

Where Have I Been?
A day at Giza

I've been focusing mostly on travel stories, especially Egypt, since my wonderful, surprising and magical trip there in late March. This amazing travel writer's tour included a special side-trip to Alexandria for me because of the research I did for Shadow of the Lion. So far I've had three of the stories published, one is out to market now and there will be several more written in the next few weeks.  I am writing the blogs first, then the articles so it takes a bit of time.
 Alexander and me at the Library of Alexandria

What's Happening Now?
My night school classes ended with the Winter term and will be no more. However I have still some morning groups, though only the WAVES writers is running now, on Monday mornings. The others will resume in mid October. Meantime I am doing a bit of in-home writing/coaching and this Spring I also did an in-home travel writing workshop. I plan to scout around for more venues to teach classes at and will also try to do more in-home workshops in the Fall.

What Are My Plans?
I'm going to England on August 31 and will visit family in Wales, then attend the Historical Novel Writers Conference in London Sept 5/6. I hope I can do some book readings in UK while I'm there. I fly to Athens September 8 and already have two book readings scheduled. I am planning to go up north to Macedonia -- Thessaloniki and around the area such as Pella, where I'll do some more research for my Dragons novel. I'm hoping to get in touch with the Society of Macedonian Studies who were helpful in my early research of Shadow and perhaps do a reading there. As well I am planning to attend a Greek poet friend's presentation in Thessaloniki.

I will be in Greece untill Oct 8. I plan to stop off in Germany en route home to visit my friend Patrick for a few days. Homeward bound Oct. 11

So that's all the updated news. I'll try to begin posting here again more frequently as soon as I clear my writing desk of projects and get some time to write more blogs.

Enjoying some souvlaki in Monastiraki, Athens.

Saturday, January 11, 2014



Yesterday I got a wonderful surprise when my publisher MediaAria-CDM posted an announcement on Facebook about the forthcoming publication of my novel 'SHADOW OF THE LION'.  It is due to be published this year in two parts. The first part subtitled 'BLOOD ON THE MOON' will be released in August 2014.  The second part subtitled 'THE FIELDS OF HADES' will be out in 2016.

They have sent the promotional information to their publicists and you can view it on the links below. You can also link to the blog I have for SHADOW on which I am posting various stories about the research, the characters and other interesting aspects of the novel

As well, you can download the publisher's ezine and see an article I wrote for them about how I  became inspired and researched the book.

SHADOW OF THE LION - W. Ruth Kozak’s forthcoming debut historical novel, SHADOW OF THE LION, is due out this SUMMER 2014 and MEDIAARIA CDM are very pleased to announce that this epic work will be released in two parts. To read the Press Release and learn more, visit: https://www.prbuzz.com/books-publishing-literature/197472-shadow-of-the-lion-books-i-and-ii-titles-announced.html.
In addition, someone posted a very interesting article about how an archaeologist is investigating the cause of Alexander's death and attributes it to having been a poisonous plant added to his wine. This is exactly the theory I have pursued in the novel - that a potion was made of a poison plant and added to his wine while he was on a binge. His enemy, Kassandros, is allegedly suspected of doing this.
I found this fascinating and it also adds to the interest of the novel.
I'll be posting more information on the progress of the publishing as the months go by. This is a very exciting time for me and I want to share every moment with you, my faithful blog followers.