Friday, May 27, 2011

Semi-Finalist for the Grand "Not going to the BEA" Event...

So, this morning I am announcing the Semi-Finalist for this grand Event. The winner here gets her name sent over to, where Arleigh will announce the winner from the results tallied on my site and of my dear friend, Marie from Burton Book Review.

So...on with my answers:

1) My favourite all-time King is none other than....LOUIS XIV  (A close second would have been the rakish Charles II- And, yes you're right Roberta Nappy and Josephine were Emperor/ess and that's why I didn't choose them..but I digress!)

2) This one seemed quite easy for all of you...Marie Antoinette of course!!!

3) and last but definitely not least:  Absolutely Without a doubt: TRIANON!!! If you love marie Antoinette, you MUST read this.

So who got this all right?  Two of you:  Roberta and Library Pat- Great Job!  But there can only be one winner here- so off to the hat  these 2 names did go.  My precious youngest was priveleged to pick the name from the hat (paper bag really)....

The Winner is........Drum roll....ROBERTA!!! 

Congrats- you are one of the Semi-Finalists!!!  Please stay tuned at Arleigh's blog for the Grand Result.

THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE that participated.  Thank you for being such great sports and attentive readers:)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Art...

Here is my latest addition.  I had put this one aside for awhile, not quite knowing where I was going with it.  Then- just like that, the other night I sat down and finished it up in no time. 

I'm not sure there's any meaning behind it.  I just like the way these girls are part of a though they've got eachother's back...bit of a solidarity thing.  I like that:)

And here are the side views:

Another mixed-media work: acrylic, gel pen, soluble water colours, glitter, and sparkle paint.  (note that I still have some teeny little touch ups- but couldn't resist showing you!)

Thanks for stopping by and looking at my art work:)

Monday, May 23, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Who's Not Going to the BEA?

And here is your chance to win the fabulous prize pack for the Nine Books we mentioned yesterday!
The BEA GIVEAWAY and Scavenger Hunt begins RIGHT NOW!

To see the details of the giveaway, please see yesterday's post.. which lists the eight advance copies of awesome historical fiction books PLUS the fact you will get to pick ANY book from The Book Depository!!

The blogs that are sponsoring this BEA Giveaway are:

Visit and enter at each of these blogs to increase your chances of winning. You can enter once here, or once there, or three times for all blogs.. but there will only be ONE Winner of the Nine Books.
                 To enter here at Enchanted by Josephine, go on a little scavenger hunt!

1)Can you tell me who my all time favourite King is?
2)Can you tell me who my all time favourite Queen is?
3)Which is my all-time favourite book on Marie Antoinette- (the one that is a real tear jerker!)

I'll pick a winner from those who have answered all three questions correctly...and then that name goes into the pick for the Grand Accumulated Prize for this Event!!!

If you want to increase your chances.. go visit the other participating blogs! Good luck!
Giveaway ends Thursday night, open to the USA! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tomorrow's BIG Event!!

Hey Everyone:)  Feeling like you're missing out cause you won't be going to the BEA Event? 

Don't be sad...Tomorrow we're compensating with something fabulous!  Want to check out a preview of what I'm talkin' about?  GO HERE.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This has been a fabulous Borgia Fest.  I want to thank you all for joining me in my reviews, interview and giveaways.  And a  Big Thank you goes to Matthew Scarsbrook. 


Congratulations to both winners:)) Please send me an email!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Another GIVEAWAY and Book Review!!

Had enough of the Borgia’s yet?? After so many books out there, and now a TV series to almost seems like we’ve captured every angle of this outrageous family.  But -  Not so fast...Matthew Scarsbrook has put a twist to the story.  When you think of Borgia, does the word “poison” ever come to mind? Hold that thought; Matthew Scarsbrook’s new novel is entitled: 

My Review
I didn’t know quite what to expect when I began reading Scarsbrook’s new novel: Poison in The Blood.  How was this historical novel going to be any different from the one (by a different author) I just recently read on Lucrezia? Honestly, I often find it difficult to read same subject- character books, one right after the other.  So, needless to say, my excitement was not that great- but, I was on for the ride.
Well, I couldn’t have been more surprised! Not only did I get a novel filled with more than the basic history as I know it (perfect timeframe, setting and figures) but this one is also a memoir. Written in the first person, Poison in the Blood brilliantly portrays Lucrezia’s smarts, her compassion, love, strength of character and wit; something that is not always easily achieved when writing in this perspective. 
But really, the thing that I found most interesting in this novel was the poison twist.  Historically, the Borgias have always been suspected of dabbling in this area- so why not a novel exposing this? Scarsbrook is brilliant in weaving a plot that ties fiction and history together.  Granted, the ending (which I will not give away!) is different from the real history; nevertheless, it could have been quite plausible, with the outcome of Lucrezia definitely being a less-maligned historical heroine.
I particularly enjoyed scenes involving Lucrezia’s estranged mother, as well as the famous Machiavelli himself. These touches within the book brought Lucrezia to life for me. Her thoughts, emotions and actions made her so real that I began to empathize with her. Her father, the grand schemer of things was as brutal and conniving as we know.  But, Cesare shows another side of his, as well (Though don’t get fooled he’s still bad!).  Living such a twisted life, Lucrezia, who is usually portrayed as a pawn, was clever and strong in reversing her fate. And, that’s what I loved most.
Brilliantly crafted, Poison in the Blood is a quick and engaging read that does not feign its way through the history. Rather, it brings an element of ‘what if’ that is splendidly interpreted into something more than just plain history.  Scarsbrook has re-invented the past in this work of fiction by bringing in suspense with a twist to create a book that is well worth reading.
Category: YA
Loved it!
The Borgia Fest ends with a GIVEAWAY of 1 e-book of Poison in the Blood, by Matthew Scarsbrook to another of my lucky followers!!  Thank you Matthew:)

To Enter:
1) You must be a follower of this blog.
2) For extra chances please post on your sidebar, Twitter and FB.
3) Extra chance for also commenting on Interview Post Here, and on The Life And Legend of Lucrezia Borgia post HERE

                                                Thanks for entering. Winner will be announced on May 16th as well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review and GIVEAWAY!!!


This huge book is an all-inclusive historical fest on Lucrezia Borgia, her family and her life. This one-of-a-kind work begins by whetting our appetite with historical facts and complementary timeline. At over 600 pages, The Life and Legend of Lucrezia Borgia is a fantastic non-fiction collection of research and texts written in such an interesting, yet historically accurate style. This biography indulges the reader with enticing detailed information that encompasses both facts and mundane curiosities about the lady herself-a pure treat for any lover of history!

Also part of this book is a complete section on Lucrezia Borgia with original documents and correspondence from her days, which I was delighted to read. It includes letters and book extracts that detail her life. These are divided in sections that tell all on her father, mother, her first home, her education, her betrothals...everything until her death! One document I particularly loved was the love letter from Pietro Bembo dated: Venice October 18, 1503.

Another fantastic historical book found within this great compilation is Pere Dumas’ THE BORGIAS- a whole 16 chapters filled with more detailed info on this notorious family. There is also a note at the beginning of this particular book stressing the violence it contains. Dumas really does not ‘mince’ his words. He wrote the history as gruesome as it was.

And-For anyone obsessed with Cesare Borgia’s history, Raphael Sabatini writes: The Life of Cesare Borgia. This is a full history, which includes the criticisms and opinions of the author as well. This historical book contains four books in itself and is a most complete work of history that includes every treachery and betrayal committed by this man and his clan. It's also part of this grand book!

For the encyclopedic purists at heart, the author has also included 2 sections from Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 4 on Lucrezia Borgia and Cesare Borgia.

And what would all this history be if it were only facts without a bit of drama displayed for all to watch in a sensational play? So, to entertain as well as inform, this wonderful compilation of works also includes the play (melodrama) by Felice Romani: Lucrezia Borgia- first interpretation given in 1833, in Milan.

This book has it all! Historical Buffs will revel in this treasure of information. I highly recommend it- I now feel like a Borgia expert! (Oh dear...I do mean that in a positively scholarly way!)

Note: Throughout this book, you will also find excerpts from the author’s two other novels: Poison In the Blood, The Memoirs of Lucrezia Borgia (my Review and Giveaway this week as well!)- And- The Marlowe Conspiracy.

Matthew Scarsbrook is GIVING AWAY 1 e-book of The Life and Legend of Lucrezia Borgia to one of my lucky followers!!! Thank you Matthew:)

To Enter:
1) You must be a follower of this blog.
2) For extra chances please post on your sidebar, Twitter and FB.
3) Extra chance for also commenting on Interview Post Here

Thanks for entering. Winner will be announced on May 16th!

Note: Remember to stop by again this week for the review of: Poison in the Blood (Scarsbrook latest book!!)- and GIVEAWAY:)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Top Children's Book Illustrators Original Work - Online Auction...

'Twelve top children’s book illustrators created original artwork for Scholastic’s month-long online charity auction (which just opened for bids) to benefit Reading Is Fundamental and Reach Out and Read, two amazing literacy organizations that have lost all federal funding, making it even more difficult for them to help the kids who need it the most. '

Please check out the online auction here (click on Auction part).  To see the lovely original artwork and for bidding See Here.

                       Here are some of the illustrators and their work up for auction:

 Mary Grandpre, illustrator of Harry Potter

Norman Bridwell, illustrator of Clifford

Magic School Bus Series, Bruce Degen, left

Great Artwork for a Great Cause...Go check it out!

Lucrezia Borgia WEEK: Author Interview- Book Reviews and GIVEAWAYs!!!!!

Today begins the week here at Enchanted by Josephine with a fantastic Author Interview.

What if I were to tell you that I have come across a most talented new author who's written about that most outrageously decadent family-the Borgias; their full history like never written before...including a twist to the history involving poison? Wouldn't you want to learn more? Would you be interested in reading his work...duh??

Today I have the immense pleasure of introducing to you, Matthew G. Scarsbrook, author of Poison in The Blood; the Memoirs of Lucrezia Borgia - and The Life and Legend of Lucrezia Borgia .

Scarsbrook has agreed to answer some of my questions in today's interview. Please welcome this wonderful author!

1) A Canadian first, but a true expert on British history and culture - For this novel you’ve had to switch to Italian history (and the Borgias!) What was the fascination? Why the Borgias or this particular period in history-place?

Firstly, I love the renaissance era - it was such an exciting time, so full of new ideas, new confidence, creativity, color, danger and spectacle. After writing about the English renaissance,I was keen to explore this fascinating time in another country - and what better than Italy, the birthplace of the entire movement?

As for the Borgia family, they were simply the most dramatic set of individuals in a very dramatic time. Lucrezia's father, Pope Alexander VI, was notorious for keeping a herd of courtesan's roaming about the Vatican, and was rumored to dispatch many of his enemies with a custom-made poison called 'Cantarella'. Lucrezia's brother, Cesare Borgia, was a shrewd and merciless Captain-General of the Papal army, and served as the inspiration for Machiavelli's 'The Prince'. Even Lucrezia herself was said to possess a ring with a tiny poison capsule which she used to secretly empty venom into drinks at banquets. The reign of the Borgias was the most scandalous era in papal history, marked by constant wars, assassinations,
murder, unbridled extravagance, debauchery and allegations of incest. If that isn't the stuff of stories, then I don't know what is!

2) About Lucrezia...Do you think history in general was rather fair; or too hard on her? Please share with us one thing about Lucrezia that my readers might not know and would love to learn.

Although modern historians have tried to rehabilitate her reputation, I think history on the whole has treated Lucrezia fairly unjustly. She was once described as the 'greatest whore there ever was in Rome', and many artists and writers have portrayed her as a poisoner, an evil seductress, or a femme fatale. But I was interested in the fact that, despite living in the most scandalous era of papal history, very few people in her own time accused Lucrezia of any crimes. Her powerful father and her ruthless brother may have been guilty of assassinations, murder, and general debauchery, etc., but there is no historical evidence to link Lucrezia to the plots and killings attributed to her family. So, I was inspired by this lesser-told story about Lucrezia's life - the story of how a young, relatively powerless noblewoman gained the strength to break away from the clutches of her family and took control over her own life.

A lesser known fact about Lucrezia? Despite being less than 20 years of age, she was a capable leader and was given the governorship of several cities within papal control. And for a few short periods, while Pope Alexander VI was away from the city, she was even placed in charge of the Vatican. To this day, she is the only woman to officially preside over the Holy See!

3) It isn’t always typical for male authors to write in the female voice. What is your opinion and experience regarding this? (advantages - drawbacks if any?)

It may not be common, but there's certainly a long history of male authors writing as women, dating back to Daniel Defoe in the 17th century, to Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins in the 18th century, to modern authors like Nick Hornby and Kazuo Ishiguro. It's really not as difficult as many people might think. As individuals, we ultimately only know what it is like to be ourselves - I have no special, innate insight into what it is like to be another person, whether it's a man or a woman, a Pope or a peasant. But as an artist, it's my job to bring to life diverse characters, to use my imagination to sympathize and understand every character's point of view that I write. So, while I can't know what it's like to be another person, I can imagine myself as another person. Gustav Flaubert was once asked how he managed to write so well as a woman in 'Madame Bovary', and he simply replied "Madame Bovary, c'est moi" - ("Madame Bovary, it's me"). I think that answer is my own, too: I am Lucrezia Borgia, just as I am every other character in my novel.

4)What type of research was needed to write your book? How long did it take? The

I love to do extensive research for my novels. Generally, I spend about 6 months researching and planning before I start to write. My novels are often based around dramatic historical figures, such as Christopher Marlowe or Lucrezia Borgia, so I need to thoroughly understand their lives before I can tackle them as fictional characters. After so much preparation, the initial writing of the story can then be very quick, usually only 3-4 months, with another few months of rewriting and polishing. I generally produce one novel a year, although this may speed up
when I start writing a series.

5)What is in your future writing plans? Shall we expect more historical novels from you?

I'm just about to start a new detective series. Unlike my previous work, this novel will have a contemporary setting, although it has an historical basis too: the story is inspired by one of the most notorious and perplexing unsolved murders in English legal history. I also have a very unique idea for the main detective and the general setting, but it's top secret for now. If I told you, I'd have to kill you... which is rather fitting for a murder mystery!

6) Where can readers learn more about you and your books (blogs, sites, where to

To learn more about me or my writing, please visit my website
where you can read samples of my novels, see professional reviews of my work, and find all the latest news. You can also follow me on Facebook at
, or visit my author page at goodreads:

All my novels are available as paperbacks and eBooks from most major bookstores online,including: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBookstore, Sony, Kobo.

Anyway, thanks a lot for reading this. And thank-you to Enchanted By Josephine for giving a new writer like me such a great opportunity!

Thank You so much Matthew Scarsbrook!!!

Would you like to read Scarsbrook's books? I have just finished 2 of them on Lucrezia Borgia and this week there will be a GIVEAWAY on both of these!

Please stay tuned this week as I post my review of The Life and Legend of Lucrezia Borgia- and GIVEAWAY TOMORROW!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My GIVEAWAY Winner is...

You have won a copy of Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn!!!

Please email me your contact info at:

Thank you to everyone who participated:)