Excerpt From Rebecca Hazell’s Trilogy-Concluding Novel Consolamentum


Lady Heloise added, “It is said that Saint Denis rose up after his execution, picked up his head, and walked a thousand feet before falling again. That is where a pilgrimage shrine was later founded, but the abbey that bears his name lies farther to the north. You will soon see that it is quite beautiful and also very special, for it is where all the kings of Francia have been buried since it was built. The king, I hear, intends to commission effigies to lie over each tomb, even of the earliest kings of Francia, like Clovis and Pepin. I find it very moving, and you must as well; it is good politics.

“Oh, look, they are already setting up for the October fair; one farmer always sells the richest cream you ever tasted. Not that I use it for eating: it also works wonders on the skin.”

As we passed, I saw many men and a few women setting up booths and stalls and even a few solid buildings. The aroma of roasting meat drifted across our path.

The fair was not yet open, but she and several other ladies did fall back to buy trinkets and, yes, cream, which the vendors were glad to sell them. I made the mistake of following behind. They were already returning, and I should have gone with them then, but I was drawn by a tent surrounded by colorful banners depicting odd-looking symbols. I thought just to look at them quickly and then to return to ask Heloise what they meant, but a woman dressed in motley came out when I rode up and began urging me inside her tent to have my fortune told. When I refused, a gang of hard-looking men suddenly surrounded me.

They probably had never heard a lady scream, but scream I did, and several knights in our company were soon bearing down on the ruffians, laying about and quickly rescuing me. This was shaming enough, but the king and queen heard the noise and were staring at me as I rode back, red-faced, to join their train. Lord Joscelin rode back to see me, looking stern. At least he began with, “Are you all right?” I nodded, looking down, unable to meet his eye. But then he added, “Don’t do anything foolish like that again. King Louis marked it, and you especially offended him by seeking out a fortune teller!”

Like what you read? This is an excerpt from author Rebecca Hazell’s new novel, Consolamentum, the conclusion of the Tiger And The Dove Trilogy.

More About This Book:

In the finale of Sofia’s memoir, Consolamentum, both dramatic and poignant, her dreams of home are shattered when her own family betrays her. Raising her child on her own, mourning the loss of her beloved knight, and building a trading empire, she seeks safe haven for her child and herself. Her quest takes her from Antioch to Constantinople to Venice. A surprise reunion in Venice leads her to France where she runs afoul of the newly established Holy Inquisition, possibly the greatest challenge she has yet faced. Can a woman so marked by oppression, betrayal, and danger ever find her safe haven, much less genuine happiness?

The novel is available both in paperback and Kindle versions and through your local bookstore by special order.


About The Author:

Rebecca Hazell is a an award winning artist, author and educator. She has written, illustrated and published four non-fiction children’s books, created best selling educational filmstrips, designed educational craft kits for children and even created award winning needlepoint canvases. She is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, and she holds an honours BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Russian and Chinese history.

Rebecca lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1988 she and her family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 2006 she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. They live near their two adult children in the beautiful Cowichan Valley.

Visit Rebecca:
Website | Goodreads | Facebook

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Daughter of The Gods Is A Long-Awaited Redemption of Hatshepsut and Her Legacy


I am lucky enough to know the author of Daughter of The Gods, Stephanie Thornton, personally, so I was able to read the novel before release. I am so happy now everyone can read it, and be personally inspired by it.

Daughter of The Gods is the story of Pharaoh Hatshepsut, the fifth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. She is forced for so long to do whatever people want her to do. Marry her half-brother Thut to secure his ascension to the Horus Throne, sit pretty for the people while the men plan battle (which she longs to do), and be forced to try to produce a male heir to the throne. When another of Thut’s wives, Aset, gives him a son, Hatshepsut begins to see a real life for herself. She is tired of being what everyone wants her to be, and when Thut abruptly dies, she becomes regent for her two-year-old nephew.

As she starts to realize what ruling is like, and as she develops a strong love connection to the brilliant Senenmut, Hatshepsut decides what she must do. She herself, unheard of previously, seizes the throne and becomes Pharaoh. She gives her all to Egypt, ruling effectively and putting the people first. But, as her heart aches, she must decide if she will rule or give in to what her heart desires. And when the people around her start to work against her, she must do what she feels right to lead Egypt to great things.

Statue of Hatshepsut. Credit Here.

Ever since I read her debut novel, The Secret History, I have loved Thornton’s writing for many reasons. The books are so well-researched we feel we actually are smelling the incense, feeling the desert sun, just as Hatshepsut does. We feel the love Hatshepsut has, for Senenmut, for the people of Egypt. Thornton is able to display Hatshepsut’s achievements as the female Pharaoh would have seen them. The implementation of trade routes between Egypt and the rest of the civilized world, the construction of temples to last millennia, and the conquest of many Nubian towns.

The greatest thing I took away from Daughter of The Gods, just as I have from Thornton’s other course-of-history changing women, is the fact that you must give your all if you are to lead. I am going to be the leader of the free world (President of the United States), and so the lessons Hatshepsut’s life teaches I can apply to my own life. She worked her entire life for the best of Egypt, and that teaches me that if I am to be President I must work for the very best for the people of the US my whole life.

Stephanie Thornton adds another shining book to her powerful women in history series with Daughter of The Gods, and the restoration of Hatshepsut as one of the most powerful, influential, and important leaders in human history.


Author Stephanie Thornton, Biography~

Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel. The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora is available from NAL/Penguin and Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt hit the shelves May 6, 2014. The Tiger Queens: A Novel of Genghis Khan will publish in Fall 2014. For more information, please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website

Praise For Daughter Of The Gods

“Daughter of the Gods is a wonderfully intimate and dramatic evocation of Ancient Egypt, where one headstrong young woman dares to become pharaoh. Stephanie Thornton vividly portrays the heat and the danger, the passion and the heartbreak of Hatshepsut’s struggle, as she defies even the gods to ensure success on the throne of Egypt. A touching love story combines with a thrilling tale of death, courage and political intrigue to produce a superbly researched and powerfully written novel. This is the kind of book that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A remarkable story, remarkably told.” -Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile

“Stephanie Thornton’s heroines are bold, brave, and powerful–they make me want to stand up and cheer!” -Kate Quinn, author of Lady of the Eternal City

“Daughter of the Gods is a full-out, total immersion experience of ancient Egypt. From her moving love affair with a commoner to her fierce and unwavering commitment to Egypt as a female Pharaoh, Hatshepsut crackles with fascinating complexity. Her ka must be grinning with pleasure at this richly textured account of her life, one that is worthy of the great queen herself. “ -Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of Cleopatra’s Moon

“An epic saga that brings ancient Egypt to life with vivid imagery and lovely prose. Stephanie Thornton is a rising star!” -Stephanie Dray, author of Lily of the Nile

An Interview With Author/Scientist J.M. Sidorova, Involving Ice, Science, and Love Of Writing

I reviewed J.M. Sidorova’s novel, The Age Of Ice, previously. Now, I have an interview I conducted with the author. 

Welcome, J.M. to Seize The Moment! It is great to have you here. How are you?

Hi Nassem, thanks for having me here at Seize the Moment.

1. The Age Of Ice is your debut novel, and is very well written. When did you begin to write?

Thank you for your praise.  I began to write at the age seven or so. (It is not uncommon for a future writer to manifest some kind of a “writing affliction” at an early age.) As for when I began to write well — that is an open question. Maybe almost forty years later?

2. Your book is from first-person. How did you get in the head of Prince Alexander Velitzyn?

I did not get in his head, he got in mine. But seriously? Hard to say. I’ve put a little bit of my father into him, a little bit of myself. A lot of what preoccupies his mind is hindsight. I love hindsight!  Also, I do believe that one can use relatively small and ordinary personal experiences as a seed to build (with some research on the subject, of course) something extraordinary and dramatic. It’s like growing salt crystals – you need something for it to nucleate on. As an example: what writer has been in a spaceship crash? No one. But some had been in a car crash. And others had crashed on a bicycle. In a sense, you can use your bicycle crash experience as a seed to create your spaceship crash narrative.

 3.   I understand that you are a science research professor at the University of Washington. On the ice part of The Age Of Ice, did your extensive knowledge of this subject influence your book? 

I would not call myself an expert on ice. I know the basics of the physics of water, the kind of a background knowledge that is so integral to what we do in the lab, that we don’t even notice that we use it. The same thing may have happened with the book — some of the references to ice are just paraphrased basic scientific facts. One thing I know is that water is such a marvelous substance that if I could I would have put a lot more about it into the book.  For instance our (University of Washington’s) own Professor Gerald Pollack  just published a book (http://faculty.washington.edu/ghp/new-book/)  about a new, fourth state of water (in addition to solid, liquid, and gas) that actually may be very relevant to the way water behaves inside cells of living organisms.  How awesome is that?

Nassem Comment: I am interested in reading that book! Water is fascinating, both how it got here to Earth and the forms it takes.

 4.   While we are on the science topic, could you tell us a bit about what scientific field you study in?

One way to describe it is this: imagine, every cell of a human body has a total of six feet of DNA cut into forty six pieces (yes, it’s not a typo, six feet), and packed into a volume that is about one ten-thousandth of that in diameter. When a cell divides into two, it needs first to accurately copy all six feet of its DNA. Cells accomplish this goal in under eight hours using thousands of “copy machines” that are each about one millionth of a foot long. I study how cells manage to do it and not mess things up, even under challenging conditions.

Nassem Comment: That is an amazing fact, the 6 feet of DNA fact. It makes you look at life itself differently.

5. How much of real science fact is Alexander’s immortality based off of? Does it have something to do with heat particles and the temperature?

 Oh, I wish it was based in real science. Short of that, let’s take some real science and run wild with it. I am going to continue on with my crystals analogy. Bear with me. Ice is water crystals, right? Proteins can also form crystals. Normally though, proteins in living organisms are not supposed to form indestructible crystallized aggregates. But certain altered proteins inside cells can fold in a wrong way and form an indestructible crystal. This crystal is now a seed around which more of the protein aggregates. The crystal grows.  What you get in an upshot is mad cow disease, and indestructible seeds of crystallization are called prions. For all intents and purposes prion crystals are infectious, transmissible, and they multiply by recruiting more building blocks to themselves from the organisms they infected.  Now apply all of this back to ice crystals and imagine that ice has “infected” our character at conception and is now in every cell of his body; it has co-crystallized with proteins inside his cells and takes part in every process. Longevity just may be a side effect of that.

 6. Prince Alexander was conceived and developed his…unique…trait in the real-life Palace Of Ice, constructed by Empress Anna Ioannovna. How did you first come upon knowledge about this palace, and was it the main inspiration for The Age Of Ice?

One Of The Awesome Maps On The Endpapers of The Age Of Ice.

 That’s an easy answer: I read about the Ice Palace in a New Yorker article by Elif Batuman, and yes, it was indeed the straight-on, direct, kick-starting inspiration for the novel.

Nassem Comment: I was sent a copy of said article with the review copy of The Age Of Ice. It truly was very interesting to read, and I would encourage any readers to read the article before the book.

7. As Alexander is on his journey to discover who he really is, he travels to many different places, among them Paris, the Middle East, and Siberia. Which of the many places were your favorite to research and write about?

 Each one was my absolute favorite when I worked on it. A sort of serial favoritism on my part.  Looking back, I now have unique associations with each place, personal experiences that they are attached to. I have seen readers and critics call the Siberian chapter extremely dark, and I am very glad to see that because that is exactly how I wanted it.  So I guess that makes it a favorite in terms of having accomplished the goal.

8. What authors have influenced you the most in your writing?

 The list is long, and it could be said it contains everybody I happened to read at an impressionable age between — I don’t know — sixteen and twenty two. Those were not so much influences as impacts, style and story all packed together in a punch. To give just a few examples off the list — Sasha Sokolov, Julio Cortazar, Jorge Luis Borges, Stanislav Lem, Thomas Mann, Salman Rushdie; but really, I can go on and on.      

9. Where does your greatest support come from? What hobbies do you enjoy?

 Professionally, I am lucky to be part of a great writer and reader community here in Seattle, which also includes folks involved with Clarion West workshop for speculative fiction writers (of which I am a graduate). My family definitely should be awarded Best Supporting Family Member titles. As for hobbies… who has the time? Very occasionally, we do the outdoor sports typical for Seattle — things involving mountains or large bodies of water — and the rest of the time we recover from injuries and muscle soreness incurred due to performing those outdoor sports.

 Thank you so much, J.M. You have honored me, allowing me to interview you. As I stated in my review of The Age Of Ice, the book is one of my favorites I have ever read, due to the rich text and blending of history and science. Thank you.

 I am glad you liked it. Thanks for interviewing me.
J.M Sidorova- Author Of The Age Of Ice
J.M. Sidorova was born in Moscow, when it was the capital of the USSR, to the family of an official of the Ministry of Foreign Trade. She attended Moscow State University and the graduate school of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She moved to Seattle, Washington, in 1990 and works as a research professor at the University Of Washington, where she studies aging and carcinogenesis.

A Historical Fiction Full Of Imagery And Senses In 19th Century Vietnam

Flesh. What An Amazing Cover! Credit Here.

Flesh by Khanh Ha is a historical fiction that takes you to another time and place, but also immerses you in the smells, sights, and sounds. The hero, Tai, is forged in the events, horrors, and cultural changes of 19th Century Tonkin (now Vietnam), is a portrait not only of the time but of the people. Flesh makes you feel the emotion and senses like very few other books I have ever read.

A book with a writing style similar to Khaled Hosseini (probably my favorite fiction author), Flesh follows the protagonist Tai. In the beginning, he is a witness at the beheading of his bandit father, and is determined to find the men who betrayed his father. As Tai is only a teenager, he has to become a man quickly, tempered by violence and tragedy, but always doing what is right in his heart. When he becomes desperate to find a proper burial site for his father and brother, he pledges 2 years of service to a man who is not all he may say he is.

As we travel with Tai along throughout Hanoi, through opium dens and encountering homeless men, we get an intimate feel for the world, the smell of beetles, the crimson color of blood. Flesh reads like a song. I believe, however, that the greatest part of Flesh was how all are connected in some way. The relation that sometimes is not wanted but obligated, the tragedy of love, and how sometimes healing can come from your worst enemy. It seemed that throughout Flesh people were always there, ready to help Tai, to betray him, even though most shared the blood of family. Finally, the person that you trust most may end up being your worst betrayer.

Flesh is a lyrical masterpiece by a debut author, and lets us connect with this time, and with these characters. A work that reads as a song, imagery is beautiful in this novel, and will have you picturing this world long after you put the book down.

Khanh Ha- Author Of Flesh
Khanh Ha was born in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam. During his teen years, he began writing short stories, which won him several awards in the Vietnamese adolescent magazines. He studied Journalism at Ohio University and learned the craft of writing under Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon) and Walter Tevis (The Man Who Fell to Earth). FLESH (Black Heron Press, June 2012) is his first novel (literary fiction).

For more information, please visit Khanh Ha’s Website and Blog.