Kate Quinn's Blog: Ave Historia, page 6

October 17, 2013

It's about two and a half months until “The Lion and the Rose” is released—the second half of my Borgia duology about papal mistress Giulia Farnese and her two friends, the cynical dwarf bodyguard Leonello and the sharp-tongued female cook Carmelina. If you'd like to get your hands on an early copy of L&R, here's your chance, because I'm running a very special kind of giveaway.

Lots of readers have written to tell me how much they swooned over all the delicious food in “The Serpent and the Pearl” - I even set up a virtual potluck with food bloggers cooking dishes straight out of the book. I had such a blast seeing the food pics that came out of my own pages that I'm extending a challenge: any reader who cooks a dish out of “The Serpent and the Pearl” will be eligible to win an advance copy of “The Lion and the Rose.”


Want an advance copy?

So, here are the rules:

1. Choose a dish out of “The Serpent and the Pearl” that hasn't been made yet.

2. Cook your chosen dish. Just be aware that some of the things my Renaissance heroines eat are illegal in the 21st century—don't get fined for trying to cook a swan!

3. Email a pic of you with your finished dish to katequinnauthor@hotmail.com, along with a few words on how you cooked it and how it turned out. (Even if it's a disaster. Because kitchen disasters can be hilarious!)

4. For every dish you cook, I'll enter your name into a random drawing. And if you attempt something truly awesome, I'll enter your name in twice. Because let's be fair—if someone makes a stab at spit-roasted peacock or whole truffled sea bass in champagne-caviar sauce, they deserve a double entry.

5. And that's it! On November 1, I'll pull two names out of the hat and mail my two winners an advance copy of "The Lion and the Rose."


So, who's ready to start cooking?
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Published on October 17, 2013 18:00 • 2,102 views • Tags: giveaway, the-lion-and-the-rose, the-serpent-and-the-pearl

October 4, 2013

By the time this posts, I'll be in Bermuda on the first vacation out of the US that I've had in four years - to Bermuda, where I was four years ago on my honeymoon! But I've got a guest blog post scheduled on Campaign For The American Reader, this one "the Page 69 Test." Namely, what would any reader think, if they opened your book to page 69?

Anybody who did that that for "The Serpent and the Pearl" would probably think "Why's this chick talking to a severed hand?" Or maybe they'd think they wandered into an Addams Family spin-off. Who knows? But to read more, click here!


There's a disembodied hand in "The Serpent and the Pearl." And like The Thing in the Addams Family, it's very useful at times.
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Published on October 04, 2013 16:20 • 2,034 views • Tags: blog-tour, page-69-test, the-serpent-and-the-pearl

September 25, 2013

Guest blogging over at Enchanted by Josephine/HF Book Muse today! Topic? One of my pet peeve cliches in historical fiction:

"So here's a pet peeve of mine when it comes to books: I'm tired of drop-dead gorgeous heroines. I have nothing against attractive characters in books, mind you. We watch movies in part to enjoy the sight of pretty people, after all, and books have a similar escapism. But too often in bad books, we have to wade through a lot of repetitive rhapsodizing about the heroine's flawless profile and perfect skin, and she can never enter a room without every man in it falling with a thud at her feet. In real life, beauty that spectacular is rare—so why does it have to be so common in books?"

(Wish fulfillment, anyone?)

To read the rest, click here! And be sure to check back tomorrow, because Lucy's doing a review and giveaway (thank you, Lucy!)


I've tried to avoid the cliche of the Drop Dead Gorgeous Heroine - until I got stuck with one in the form of Giulia Farnese!
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Published on September 25, 2013 13:58 • 2,912 views • Tags: blog-tour, enchanted-by-josephine, hf-book-muse, the-serpent-and-the-pearl

September 24, 2013

Busy week! I've got the Baltimore Book Festival this Friday - come see me at the Maryland Romance Writers tent for a panel on the ins and outs of writing historical fiction! (1pm sharp; see you there.)

And today, I'm over at Writers Read, talking for a nice of pace not about my own book, but about other people's. What's on my reading list? Tudor spies, Venetian glass, Elizabeth Bennet, and nanobots. Yep, that's how I roll.

For titles (and these are some great titles), click here!


I'll be there at 1pm Friday - will you?
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Published on September 24, 2013 09:23 • 1,265 views • Tags: blog-tour, the-serpent-and-the-pearl, writers-read

September 16, 2013

I don't know about you, but I adore food blogs. I've got an entire list that I drool over follow. And the fun part is how food and books are mixing these days: food bloggers are hitting the pages, cooking favorite recipes out of food-heavy books and blogging about it.

So when I wrote my own food-heavy book, I knew I had to at least try to set up a virtual pot-luck. I never dreamed the result would be so mouth-watering: six fabulous food-bloggers dove into "The Serpent and the Pearl" in search of recipes. Theresa from Outlander Kitchen and Island Vittles, who cooks from Diana Gabaldon's fabulous Scottish saga; Chelsea from Inn At The Crossroads, who recently co-authored a fabulous cookbook based on "Game of Thrones" recipes; Christiane from Taking On Magazines, who cooks her way through the likes of "Better Homes and Gardens" and "Bon Appetit" utterly undaunted; Lori from Little White Apron who is a pro chef as well as a blogger extraordinaire; Deana from Long Past Remembered who recreates food from myriad centuries gone by; and Heather Webb from Between The Sheets who took time off from her upcoming debut novel on Empress Josephine to indulge her foodie hobby.

And today, we're all posting our results! Recipes included.

Inn At The Crossroads - The crostata of summer peaches that Carmelina is making when Juan Borgia decides to make a pass at her. (Big mistake: cooks always have cleavers on hand.)

Island Vittles - The tourte of sweet cheese and Genovese onions that Carmelina cooks for Giulia's wedding feast.

Little White Apron - The baked apples that Carmelina serves Giulia the morning after her wedding, and the capon with garlic, coriander and white wine that is her favorite chicken recipe.

Long Past Remembered - The shoulder of wild boar that Carmelina ponders serving a visiting archbishop.

Taking On Magazines - The sugared biscotti that form a staple munchie throughout the book, and the elderflower fritters Giulia tries to make (and ends up nearly destroying Carmelina's kitchen)

Between The Sheets - The asparagus zuppa and the zabaglione which Carmelina's apprentice Bartolomeo whips up on a country trip to impress her.

As for me, I donned my sous chef apron and did a lot of "Oui, chef" fetching and carrying from the fridge as my husband (he's the culinary genius of the family) tackled a recipe from Chapter 2 of The Serpent and the Pearl:


Hot Sops With Cherries

From the book:

It's a bit tricky, knowing what to send up to the bride's chamber the morning after her wedding . . . If you hear giggling and whispering through the door, you send up something light than can be eaten by two, preferably fed to each other with the fingers while making a great deal of mess that can be kissed away with more giggles. A hot sop with morello cherries works well--strips of butter-fried bread and a dipping sauce of cherries and sugared wine always goes down a treat with hungry young lovers.

This is a recipe I got direct from that classic Renaissance cookbook "L'Opera di Bartolomeo Scappi." Hot sops are a dish that has gone out of fashion in the modern era: toasted bread with some kind of dipping sauce that could be meat-based or fruit-based; sweet or savory. It was a popular Renaissance snack, and a staple food for those who had trouble eating (the old, the ill, the very young). Happily, this dish is just as delicious in the 21st century for gourmets of any age. The cherries are both sweet and spicy, and the bread fries up crisp and mouth-watering. Carmelina is right: this is a dish to be shared between two, with kisses in between bites.

Serves 2 -- Prep: 15 minutes

1 can cherries in water (NOT cherry pie filling)
4 slices good fresh-baked artisan bread
1 cup red wine
Butter
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

1. Butter the bread slices on both sides, and fry in a skillet over medium heat, flipping once. Set aside.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Drain the cherries and add to a medium saucepan (we improvised with a wok) and add the wine plus 4 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg.

3. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until liquid reduces down to thick syrupy texture, adding more sugar or spices to taste.

4. Serve in a bowl with fried bread for dipping. Messy in the best possible way!

**********************

Be sure to check in on the others for some more great recipes! And as for the food bloggers who kicked in on this project - Lori, Heather, Christiane, Chelsea, Deana, and especially Theresa who was chief in helping put the whole thing together - thank you all so much!
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September 13, 2013

Color me nervous--somehow I ended up in a joint author signing tomorrow. And who am I sitting down with? Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas, R. C. Ryan, Victoria Roberts, Leslie Kelly, Suzy Duffy . . . and Nora Roberts! (First order of business? Don't hyperventilate upon meeting the great Ms. R.)

I'm even getting interviewed by the Herald Mail in advance, talking about everything from tomorrow's signing to the 121 pages of pure awful that was my very first book. Best of all, I love the article's title: "Living In The Past To Pay For The Future." Yep, that's a pretty good description of what I do.

Click here to read, and get details on tomorrow's event in Boonsboro MD! Forget coming to see me, come see Nora Roberts . . .


Turn The Page: the Nora Roberts bookstore where I'll be signing tomorrow!
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Published on September 13, 2013 10:38 • 958 views • Tags: author-event, nora-roberts, the-serpent-and-the-pearl

September 8, 2013

For today's guest blog, I'm over at Mystery Lovers Kitchen - and they challenged me to cook a dish out of my own book! Challenge accepted: the hubby and I donned aprons and whipped up the peaches in grappa dish that Giulia Farnese eats at her wedding. And let me say, it came out delicious. Peaches are in season, and this dish makes a fabulous finish to any summer dinner menu.



Want the recipe? Click here!
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Published on September 08, 2013 07:15 • 894 views • Tags: blog-tour, mystery-lovers-kitchen, the-serpent-and-the-pearl

September 5, 2013

If there's a constant I keep hearing in the reviews for "The Serpent and the Pearl," it's "This book made me so hungry!"

And I'm delighted. Because bibliophiles do things differently - it's authors who ruin our diets, not fast food commercials. And over on Writerspace today, I'm guest blogging about a list of authors whose books can be counted on to ruin your diet, my diet, anybody's diet. First on the list? George R.R. Martin:

"The guy known by embit­tered fans as `the fat bas­tard' cer­tainly knows his food. Maybe he’s prepar­ing to slaugh­ter a fic­tional bride­groom at his own wed­ding feast, but Mar­tin is always happy to slow down first and tell you what’s on the table: roast herons, sweet­corn frit­ters, swan poached in saf­fron and peaches, soup with mush­rooms and but­tered snails, and pigeon pie with lemon cream. At least the poor bride­groom died well fed. (Want the cook book? There’s an offi­cial ver­sion fea­tur­ing a for­ward from Mar­tin him­self:
A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook.)

If that's not enough to get you to click here to read the rest, how about this? Most of the authors listed come with companion cookbooks if you feel like tackling some fabulous fictional food in your own kitchen!


Here's the GRRM feast I cooked out of his official cookbook!
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Published on September 05, 2013 09:02 • 614 views • Tags: blog-tour, the-serpent-and-the-pearl, writerspace

August 30, 2013

It was a case of the blonde leading the blonde when I sat down with my friend and fellow author Marci Jefferson for a Q&A: not only do the two of us belong to the fair-haired demographic, but so do our book heroines! My Giulia Farnese had gold hair down to the floor, and Marci's Frances Stewart is the girl with the golden hair in the golden dress on the golden coin in Marci's forthcoming debut novel. So in between all the other Q&A talk on self-editing and Borgia gossip, we traded a Renaissance recipe for lightening hair - straight from Caterina Sforza, yet another famous blonde!

Me: Some of the Renaissance cosmetics recipes I found are absolutely vile, like a face mask that calls for dove entrails. Others, like a rinse for blondifying hair which was made out of saffron, cinnabar, and sulphur, sound a bit nicer. Renaissance ladies were all mad for fair hair, so a favorite girls-day-out back then was to head up to the rooftop and put on big-brimmed crownless sun hats so you could spread your hair out under the sun to bleach it, but still keep your skin white!

To read the rest, click here!


Marci's forthcoming novel on Frances Stewart - don't miss it!
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Published on August 30, 2013 09:24 • 809 views • Tags: blog-tour, marci-jefferson, q-a, the-girl-on-the-golden-coin, the-serpent-and-the-pearl

August 23, 2013

I had a bit of a fan-girl moment when I met Sarah Bower (well, virtually met through email). Her "Sins of the House of Borgia" was one of the first Borgia novels I read, a lush and gorgeous evocation of the Renaissance with a twist ending that sucker-punched me right in the gut. I was more than delighted to do a Q&A with Sarah for the Historical Novel Society website. I have to say, any resolve we may have had to keep this interview solemn and professional swiftly crumpled in the assault of our mutual enthusiasm!

Sarah: I never imagined the Borgia Pope as much of a reader – too busy talking!

Me: Definitely. A blogger on my blog tour asked me a fun question – if the Borgias could have used social media, what would they use? And I immediately saw Rodrigo Borgia on Twitter, thumb-tapping away on his iPhone between papal meetings: “College of Cardinals has no idea what just hit them” at his @IamPope handle!

Sarah: That’s fabulous! And I can imagine Lucrezia posting photos of her kids on Facebook, and really wishing those selfies she took at Borgia orgies weren’t still doing the rounds elsewhere on the net . . .

Me: What an image. “Me at the Banquet of Chestnuts – lolz!”

To read the rest, click here!

And remember - I'm down at The Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore tomorrow evening, talking Borgia rumors and more fun stuff. Come join me for champagne and chocolate!



Sarah Bower's lush Borgia book on Lucrezia's later years - recommended!
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Published on August 23, 2013 12:30 • 884 views • Tags: blog-tour, q-a, sarah-bower, the-serpent-and-the-pearl

Ave Historia

Kate Quinn
An irreverent look at historical fiction today: books trends, historical tidbits, and random tangents.
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