Another Successful Year of Promoting SHADOW OF THE LION

Another year is coming to a close and it’s been a busy one, although because of a mid-year move I wasn’t able to do quite as much promo for SHADOW OF THE LION as I’d like to have.  I did a couple of readings in Vancouver and for some suburban writing groups but for next year I’m hoping to get more readings/workshops lined up.

The book promo highlight of the year was the trip I made to Athens in late September/October – a short trip this time but it gave me a chance to do some readings there which I always enjoy.  Shortly after I arrived in Athens I went for a three-day trip to my favorite camp site on Naxos, and then on to Crete to visit the Minoan site of Knossos.  While in Iraklion I had the pleasure of meeting one of my writing mentors for the first time in person. Dr. Jack Dempsey and I have been on-line friends for several years and as he has now moved to Iraklion from the US I was able to meet him. We spent a pleasant afternoon at a seafood restaurant by the Venetian Harbor talking about archaeology and our books.

The first reading was at the Canadian Institute to a good sized audience of interested people, many academics as well as some friends, and a nice reception afterwards. I read mainly from SHADOW OF THE LION: THE FIELDS OF HADES

The second reading I was at the Athens American School. I’ve visited there a couple of times in the past and always enjoy reading to the kids there. This time it was a class of 50 grade nine students and later a smaller class of older students where I presented a writer’s workshop which included readings from SHADOW OF THE LION (both volumes)

The following week I was invited to read at the Athens Centre.  I titled this presentation “In Alexander’s Footsteps”.  This was also a large audience with many academics attending and, as with the others, included a question/answer discussion and a reception later in the courtyard.

You may note that I have now a new website dedicated strictly to my published works which focuses on SHADOW OF THE LION.   You can find it at

Once back home and settled into my cozy new bachelor suite I have been back at my writing, working on another novel titled DRAGONS IN THE SKY which I began long before writing SHADOW.  In this novel, a Celtic tale in first person, I introduce Alexander as a youth.

My plan for 2018 is to focus on putting SHADOW OF THE LION into an ebook.  I have hoped the publisher would reprint both volumes in soft cover for better marketing but that may not happen. Neither will the hoped-for translation. This means I’ll have to be diligent with my marketing and I have sent out requests to as many writer’s groups and organizations as I can find Province-wide to do readings and workshops.  Hopefully this will up the sales.  Remember, both volumes SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON and SHADOW OF THE LION: THE FIELDS OF HADES are available on and the Book Depository.



I’ve been doing a lot of book promo this past month. I attended an all-day event for writers at the Vancouver Public Library.  I did a short reading from THE FIELDS OF HADES. Lots of people stopped by to chat and take brochures about SHADOW OF THE LION (both volumes.  No book sales but a great way to promote!

On June 20 I had a book launch for SHADOW OF THE LION: THE FIELDS OF HADES, held at the Kitsilano Public Library (in the old Greek area of town)  I was thrilled that the new Greek Consul General Mr Thanos Ioannou came with his wife.  It was a good sized group, lots of books signed and sold. And we had an after-party at the Olympia Taverna on Broadway.

The Greek Consul General, Mr Thanos Ioannou and his wife.


After -party at the Olympia Taverna

On June 25, GREEK DAYS, I had my own booth on Broadway for the all-day event (11 am – 9 pm). Lots of interest shown in my books here and I sold three. Lots of people stopped by to chat and take info about them.

This weekend, on Canada Day (July 1, Canada’d 150th birthday) I was invited to take part in a book fair at old Fort Langley.  I shared a table with fellow Scribbler, Wayne Gatley and enjoyed a full day 9 am – 3 pm promoting SHADOW.  Though there were no book sales, it was fun and a lovely day.

Coming up: Another book display evening at Queens Park, New Westminster on July 15 and I’ll be doing a workshop/reading for the Tri-city Wordsmiths in Port Coquitlam on August 5.


I was recently honoured to receive a “World Poetry Empowered Writer” award for my novel SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON as well as for my travel journalism. This event was held at the downtown campus of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver on October 19 at the World Poetry Peace Conference. (I had previously been invited to present my book at the WP Peace Conference in Larissa, Greece).

Here are a few photos from this event:


Accepting my award


My mini ‘Oscar’

The next night when my Scribbler’s Writers Critique group arrived for our weekly get-together, they surprised me with champagne, food and a celebratory chocolate cake (Celebrating both my publication and one of the other member’s Laurel Hislop’s publication of short stories)



Laurel and I and our cake!


We each got a certificate congratulating us for our publications


Now I am looking forward to my official book launch which will be held on January 14, 2015, hosted by the Greek Consul General at the Hellenic Community Centre in Vancouver.

There will be readings from SHADOW and some poetry by Greek/Canadian award winning poet/publisher Manolis Aligizakis.  I’ll even be signing some books!



My very first book signing in Wales in September.

(The gold Horus pen is from Egypt.  The Egyptians referred to Alexander as Horus the Wise Prince)

My Journey in Alexander’s Footsteps

The journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath your feet.
Tao te Ching, Verse 64
There is a similarity between historical writing and travel writing. Both are about journeys: one is a journey back in time, the other a journey of the present. I am both a historical and a travel writer. I write about my travels while I am researching my historical fiction.

The historical fiction writer in me was born when I was twelve years old. Our family traveled across Canada by train, a long journey from the gentle hills and maple forests of Ontario, across the wide expanse of sun-dried flat lands and yellow wheat fields of the Prairies, through the densely forested wilderness of the majestic Rocky Mountains to the lush green shores of the Pacific Ocean. My life was transformed on that journey. I imagined how it must have been to be a pioneer, and I became one of them, an explorer who forever after wanted to know what was over the next mountain.

I began to write about the pioneers’ lives. Everything I wrote came out of my imagination, sparked by that train trip across Canada. Later, encouraged by my father who was a Baptist minister, I began writing stories with a Biblical theme, set in the Holy Land and ancient Rome. At sixteen, I was introduced to a historical character who would have a profound influence on my future as a historical-fiction writer. The legendary life of Alexander the Great caught my interest. Before graduation, I had written a novel with an Alexander theme. Thus began my quest in search of Alexander.
My keen interest in Greek history eventually took me to Greece. I wanted to see the places I was writing about and try to get in touch with the ‘spirits’ of my characters. When I graduated from high school I had worked in the editorial department of a newspaper, and had some journalism background so I used these skills to write about my travels. The first travel article I submitted, about a visit to Leros, Greece,  was published. This gave me the incentive to launch a new ‘career’ as a travel writer which has led to me teaching classes in Travel Writing, Novel Writing and Creative Writing.
My journey in Alexander’s footsteps took  me around Greece and Asia Minor and I returned there often for research trips. For several years I lived in Greece while I was writing and researching SHADOW OF THE LION. I have been privileged to research at libraries in Athens and have visited many sites, making contact with Classical Scholars and archaeologists. While traveling for research I always look for angle for a travel article as well.  I have visited Istabul, Ephesus, Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus) and Fetiye, Turkey (site of the fabled Lycian tombs). In Greece I went to Aristotles’ school, the Nymphaion, at Mieza near Naoussa, where Alexander and his Companions spent two years studying philosophy and the sciences. I’ve been to Pella, the Macedonian royal city, and the royal tombs at Aigai.  At Dodoni, in Epirus there is an oak tree growing in the same place one grew when Olympias lived there. I even went to the Necromanteion, the oracle of the dead.  In Athens, I love to explore the ancient agora, paying particular interest to the various public buildings where political affairs were held during Alexander’s time. In Pireaus, at a place called Munichia, overlooking Zea, I found the place where the Macedonians had a large garrison.

It was important for me to get the correct setting details for my novel.While visiting these locations, I tried to capture the essence of the countryside, use sensory details, and attempt to get in touch with the spirits of the people who populate the novel. This helps place the reader at the scene, makes the characters more dimensional, and draws the arm-chair traveler into the story.

Not only does it take imagination, but discipline, and a great deal of planning and research when you write historical fiction. Accuracy is important. I like to spend some quite time in these places, to let the Muse speak, to absorb the essence of each place as I recreate the world I am writing about.

“A traveller has a right to relate and embellish his adventures as he pleases…”
Rudolph Erich Raspe 1737-1794 “Travels of Baron Munchausan.”