Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Tour for The City War by Sam Starbucks (Guest Post & GIVEAWAY)

My love of gladiators and Roman society continues today with a visit from Sam Starbuck and his latest release The City War.  Learn more about this steamy and historically intriguing m/m read as well as having the chance to win a $10 GC to Riptide Publishing just for commenting.  So let's get right to it......

Hello everyone! I'm your guest blogger for today, loving being hosted by Words of Wisdom for the fourth installment of my blog tour for The City War!

I've been using this blog tour to write a series of posts about writing historical romantic fiction. Today I wanted to shift gears a little and talk about becoming a writer of historical romantic fiction -- there is a slight difference, but the closer you look, the more pronounced it becomes. To thank you all for reading, I'm offering a chance to win $10 in credit with Riptide Publishing; every comment you leave on the post today enters you to win! 

I have to admit that until very recently I didn't identify as a "romance writer". It came as something of a shock to me to realize I was one. Not that I didn't want to; it simply never occurred to me.

As a teenager I worked in a second-hand bookstore whose main import and export were romance novels. I used to shelve them by the boxload, and to take my mind off the tedium of alphabetization I'd stop and read the back covers. Which of course occasionally led to taking one of them home and reading it before bringing it back to be shelved. I attached a certain amount of stigma to them at the time, and didn't read them in public or tell my family what I was reading. I certainly didn't mention to my family that the writing I did was often romantic or erotic, and occasionally pretty far from heterosexual.

Then I went off to college, and stopped reading romance novels for the most part, and when I came back to writing a few years later I found that either ideas about Romance as a genre had shifted, or the internet had picked up a movement that was already in progress. Romance was becoming recognized as a legitimate genre, with its own concerns and traditions like any literary genre. But I still didn't identify as a romance writer because I wasn't really a part of that community.

With The City War, all that has changed. Really, for me, nothing has but the name; I've been a writer of romance for ages, and now I'm simply assuming the title. It seems like it's an appropriate time to do a little identity evaluation; The City War is very much about the way we define ourselves, and how we must let that guide our actions. Brutus, Tiresias, and even Cassius are sometimes at odds with the world because of their self-definition, and the compromise between who we are and what the world expects of that identity is at the core of the piece.

“If Brutus approves, it isn’t murder; it’s politics. You’ve spent your life becoming the kind of man who could do this, and for what? A villa in the country, a wife in the city, and a seat in the Senate? All your fighting, your work, your self-denial . . . what was it for, if not so that you could act with impunity for Rome?”

There's a long road for anyone who wants to become a writer, no matter the genre. Part of that is figuring out how one defines oneself, and how to push beyond those definitions when necessary. I've been pleased to find a new definition with Riptide, and the work I've done on this novella is a reflection of striving to be the best I can be within a new title. And I'll be talking more about my specific work on The City War tomorrow, at Book Reviews by Kathy

Senator Marcus Brutus has spent his life serving Rome, but it’s difficult to be a patriot when the Republic, barely recovered from a civil war, is under threat by its own leader. Brutus’s one retreat is his country home, where he steals a few precious days now and then with Cassius, his brother-in-law and fellow soldier—and the one he loves above all others. But the sickness at the heart of Rome is spreading, and even Brutus’s nights with Cassius can’t erase the knowledge that Gaius Julius Caesar is slowly becoming a tyrant.

Cassius fears both Caesar’s intentions and Brutus’s interest in Tiresias, the villa’s newest servant. Tiresias claims to be the orphaned son of a minor noble, but his secrets run deeper, and only Brutus knows them all. Cassius, intent on protecting the Republic and his claim to Brutus, proposes a dangerous conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. After all, if Brutus—loved and respected by all—supports it, it’s not murder, just politics.

Now Brutus must return to Rome and choose: not only between Cassius and Tiresias, but between preserving the fragile status quo of Rome and killing a man who would be emperor.

You can buy The City War or read an excerpt here.


Sam Starbuck is a novelist and blogger living in Chicago because he enjoys trains, snow, and political scandals. By day, he manages operations for a research department at a large not-for-profit, and by night he is a pop-culture commentator, experimental cook, advocate for philanthropy, and writer of fiction. He holds two degrees in theatre, which haven't done much for his career but were fun while they lasted. His love of ancient cultures and art crimes makes him a very strange conversationalist at parties. His novels includeNamelessCharitable Getting, and Trace, published independently, and The City War, published with Riptide Publishing. He blogs here, and you can check out his writerly accomplishments here


Every comment on this blog tour enters you in the draw for a $10 Riptide Publishing credit.

-Giveaway is OPEN TO EVERYONE.
-To be entered, leave a comment, along with your email addy.
-A winner will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning.  A list of all participating blogs can be found here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 11/23.


  1. Thanks for the post on this great Blog Tour!
    OceanAkers @

  2. I never imagined myself as a "romance reader" either, and still don't in many ways, even though I read lots of m/m. I think the character development and story arcs of m/m seem so unpredictable in comparison to most romance, and that's what makes it so appealing.


    1. Well, I think romance often follows some pretty steady arcs, regardless of the sexuality of those involved -- but m/m romance does have different aspects from hetero romance that appeal more to some people. :)

  3. I am a sucker for romances, and historical ones have an added appeal, thanks for a great blog tour!

    brendurbanist at gmail dot com

  4. I agree with the anonymous above - I don't consider myself a romance reader, though I should probably re-evaluate that. I will tell you all sorts of genres - SF, historical, fantasy, but for some reason despite often including an element of romance in them, I never thought of them as romance.

    1. I think there's still an odd stigma attached to Romance -- it's fading, but people sometimes don't think of them as "real" books. It's nice to see that changing, but it can take time for it to change when it comes to our own reader identity!

  5. Great post! Please count me in. Thanks!

  6. I once spent a week on a farm with two kinds of books available: Great Expectations, and a shelf of Mills&Boone. It was an attempt to force myself to finish GE. It didn't work, but I can tell you you're a much better writer than your average M&B author.

    1. Oh man. In a toss up between Great Expectations and Mills&Boone I'd choose M&B too. :) It's happened to me once in a while that I've found myself with access to someone else's library, and I have to admit I usually go for the less literary content first...

  7. This book sounds great!

    JYL22075 at gmail dot com

  8. I came to love the history of Rome when I learned about Pompeii. And of course the roman gods and just... everything about this ancient city is marvelous.
    Enjoyed the post! I can hardly wait to read this series. I truly hope I can get it soon!! lol...