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Friday, March 24, 2017

When Setting Is a Character

Can setting be a character in a story? You bet. Some places naturally are so exotic, exciting and beautiful that they cry out to star in a movie or book.

I’ve read books, wonderful books, set in faraway places. But the settings served only as a backdrop, mentioned, but forgotten. I’ve always been a little disappointed that I didn’t learn more about the locale during the stories. I love stories where the setting is the framework that holds the story, especially when the story is set in a beautiful place I want to visit or one I want to revisit.

When I traveled to Rome, Italy, in 2006, my second trip there, I was again blown away by the city’s beauty, vibrancy and history. All four of my grandparents came from Italy, so the country itself holds meaning for me.

Rome was bustling as always that June, especially with World Cup fever all around. We stayed at a hotel on one of the most popular and crowded streets, Via Corsi. Trevi Fountain was a short walk away. The Pantheon was around the corner. And so was an amazing gelato shop where we bought too many luscious gelatos, the Italian ice cream. Yum. Kiwi Melon was my favorite. My husband and I ate at least two gelatos a day. Good thing we walked all over the city to shed those extra calories.

Italy is magical and begs to be its own character in books and movies. As we walked the ancient cobbled streets of Rome, ate amazing food (saffron gnocchi with fresh-shaved truffles, anyone?) and drank lots of delicious wine, I just knew I had to set a story there. And I knew the richness of Rome could never fade into the background. It had to be a character.

In the fall of 2009, The Wild Rose Press announced a new romantic suspense series, Jewels of the Night. The stories could be set anywhere in the world, but had to involve a stolen blue diamond. The proverbial light bulb went off in my head. I’d write a romantic suspense set in Rome. My novel, Murder, Mi Amore, was released in December 2010. I’ve since gotten the rights back and have published it myself.

Imagine if you were a young American woman vacationing in Rome to get over a painful breakup, and your Roman holiday is suddenly disrupted by jewel thieves, murder, and one very hot and mysterious Italian guy who may or may not be involved with the strange goings on around you.

That’s the premise of Murder, Mi Amore. Rome and other parts of Italy are as important to my story as my hero and heroine, Dominic and Lexie. Every scene in Murder, Mi Amore is authentic. Even the meals Lexie ate are the same ones we enjoyed on our trip. The hotel on the Via Corsi where Lexie stays is the one where we stayed, but with a different name. I remember well how I felt as I shouldered my way through the throngs of tourists and natives on Via Corsi. I used those feelings to describe Lexie as she makes her way on this same street after she buys the handbag that launches her wild adventure. When Lexie is dragged through dark and narrow streets by her would-be kidnapper, I pictured the little alleyways dotting Rome.

As I wrote about Lexie and Dominic meeting for the first time at Trevi Fountain, I could hear the chattering of the crowds and the snap of cameras and feel the sun’s heat. I could almost taste the wine Lexie orders. When you see pictures of this iconic fountain, it looks as if it’s in the middle of a very wide street. Nope. It’s set in a corner of a narrow cobblestoned street.

While writing Murder, Mi Amore, I was once again in Rome – running my fingers over the walls of the Coliseum, tramping through the Ancient Roman Forum, eating luscious pizza and drinking rich red wine at outdoor cafes while motor scooters darted around us.

A chapter in Murder, Mi Amore is set in the Abruzzo town where my grandparents were raised. Writing that chapter brought me back to the beautiful, mountainous, rural region of my ancestors. On our trip, we traveled the same road to Abruzzo as Lexie and Dominic. However, unlike them, no one was trying to run us off the road into a deep ravine.

Could my story have taken place anywhere else? Yes, but I would have lost a major character – an exciting and exotic character, and one a little bit dangerous. Italy.

My husband and took a Viking River Cruise up the Seine in June, 2016. I plan to write a Gothic romance set in Normandy. The rugged, rainy coast of Normandy is perfect for a dark Gothic.

We spent time in Paris, one of the world's great cities. Here's a picture of a gargoyle at the top of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Because our son lives in Las Vegas, we go there at least once a year. My husband suggested I start writing stories set in Vegas. I loved the idea. I now have two novellas set in Las Vegas, and I’m currently writing a marriage-of-convenience novel set there.

Anyone who has been to Las Vegas knows the place has its own character that can’t be duplicated. The story possibilities set in Vegas are endless.

What do you think? Do you like having a setting as a character in what you read and write?

Here’s the blurb for Murder, Mi Amore:

Danger. Deception. Desire.

Murder, jewel thieves and terrorists intrude on an American woman's Roman holiday; can she trust the sexy, mysterious Italian man who comes to her aid?

Lexie Cortese is in Rome to forget. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy Interpol agent who suspects her of being part of a terrorist plot involving a stolen diamond. Suddenly thrust into a world of murders, muggings, and kidnappings, Lexie doesn’t know what to think—or who to believe.

Dominic Brioni’s assignment is simple. Befriend the American and bring her to justice. Only Lexie seems the most unlikely terrorist Dominic has ever met. Sweet, determined, and direct, she faces life with courage and fire, a fire that sparks his protective instincts and a longing for something more—something he allowed himself to hope for only once before.

But that woman betrayed him, and his boss isn’t about to let him forget it. With his career on the line and Lexie in danger, will Dominic learn to trust his heart before they both get killed?

  Here’s a little about my Las Vegas story, Bad Luck Partners, in the anthology Season of Promises Holiday Box Set.

Holidays have never brought Las Vegas hotel concierge Laney Sikora anything but bad luck in the romance department. The worst was her fiancĂ© dumping her on Valentine’s Day. Via text. She’s determined to spend New Year's Eve alone with no romantic entanglements. But when her hunky new neighbor locks himself out of his apartment, she can’t leave him standing in the hallway. What's a girl to do?

Las Vegas is just a pit stop for Chicago native and radio personality Chance Carlisle while he waits for his agent to land him something bigger in L.A. But in the meantime, he keeps bumping into—literally—his adorable, but accident-prone, neighbor. Their private New Year’s Eve celebration leads to a plan: they’ll become the Bad Luck Partners, dating only on holidays and special events, avoiding holiday heartbreaks and matchmaking mamas.
But Fate might have something else in mind for the klutzy cutie and the hotshot talk show host. Can their temporary partnership become a forever deal?

And from A Very Vegas Christmas in the anthology Holiday Magic, from The World Romance Writers.

A Las Vegas event planner in need of luck meets a mysterious guy who might be her winning ticket. Will his secret split them apart?

Can things get any worse for Las Vegas event planner Amanda Moreau? Her boyfriend dumped her for a stripper; she’s arranging a Christmas wedding for a Bridezilla; and her mother is playing matchmaker from 2000 miles away. When she meets hunky and ever-so-sweet Erik, who’s in town for a conference, she begins to hope her luck is changing. But Erik has a secret that threatens to split them apart. 


Murder, Mi Amore:

Season of Promises Holiday Box Set:

Holiday Magic:

Visit my website: for more on all my books.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Letter To My Treasured Readers... by Author Renee Vincent

Recently, I attended a three-day youth conference with my teen daughter and was literally moved to tears. Among a mass of people—over twenty-three thousand to be exact—I was touched by the kindness of strangers, their uplifting happiness, their utmost respect for human life, and their genuine consideration for others. In a world filled with hatred, selfishness, and violence, this experience was a breath of fresh air. It amazed me that among so many, not a single person expressed any kind of negativity. It reminded me that we are all capable of bringing joy and peace to everyone around us if we just put forth the effort and remember that we’re all in this together.

As a mother and positive role model, this experience has made me think about my own life, and the choices I’ve made along the way. As an author who writes for the purpose of moving readers with an unforgettable love story, I started to consider my current audience and the path of my career. Could I do better than this? Could I touch more readers if I made my love stories more appropriate for the general public, instead of a mature audience only? Could I inspire more people to pursue their dreams, as I have, and use their God-given talents for the better of others?

Because I answered “yes, I can” to each of the questions above, I’ve made a careful and conscious decision to edit and rewrite some of my romances.

There will still be adult characters in adult situations, which may or may not include sexual tension, intimacy, occasional profanity, and in some cases with my historical romances, violence because of battle scenes. However, you will no longer find "open-door sex." In fact, eventually, you’ll no longer find it in any Renee Vincent romance novel.

Rest assured, my books will be the familiar, timeless, and unforgettable love stories you’ve come to expect from a Renee Vincent novel. That will never change.

As much as it pains me to lose some of my readers because of this, and I know I will, I hold fast to my decision. I can only hope you, as my treasured reader, will understand and support me as well.

To those who had their heart set on a romance novel containing explicit sex scenes, and are unwilling to read on, I wish you the best in finding your next favorite author with absolutely no hard feelings on my end.

To those who are ready to read an exciting, heartwarming love story, and are eager to stay with me through this journey, I cannot thank you enough! Know that I’m humbled by your loyalty and continued support. I’m a blessed author indeed!

Sincerely yours,
Renee Vincent

Changes Coming To My Viking Romances:
Since my Viking romance novels have never truly had a real professional edit, I've decided to give them to my fabulous editor. During this thorough editing process (as explained above) I've also rewritten them, gave them new covers, and brand new titles. What do you think?

Old Titles | New Titles:
Raeliksen -- Sunset Fire
Mac Liam -- Emerald Glory
The Fall of Rain -- Souls Reborn
The Temperate Warrior -- Tempered Steel

The release dates for these new books will be coming soon, however I don't have any definite dates yet as we're still in the rewrite and edit stage. As soon as I narrow down a date, I'll let you know. My goal is to have them ready by the end of May 2017, especially for Lori Foster's "Reader & Author Get Together" reader conference in June. Fingers crossed!

Stay Up To Date:
Don't want to miss the release of these books, or any other Renee Vincent release, giveaway, or news? Sign up for my author newsletter!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Doing It Right by Sharon Hamilton

I was listening to an excellent podcast yesterday while cleaning my desk. She was speaking about voice and how a writer has to find hers. (By the way, I love listening to podcasts or audio books when I do something like that. Keeps me on task!) And, as often happens, the subject matter made me think about the things that are unique to each of us, as writers.

Every writer loves the feel of finding their own voice. We love it when readers find it and get us. It feels like a home run when you get those heart-felt letters.

But finding the right way to market yourself as a writer is a more difficult path. Once we have our voice, our subject matter and our story arc down, we go with that until it no longer calls to us. When that happens, we change up, alter our genres, do things to stimulate the muse back into position. Sort of like training a wild horse, I guess.

There are hundreds of ways to set up your business and get your name, your book out there. We are pitched things every day. We join loops with authors who give good advice. Sometimes that works for us, sometimes it doesn't. The bottom line is, just like an author's voice, there is no One Size Fits All when it comes to marketing and promotion. What one person says is a must do, is a non-starter for others.

What does an author do? Well, interestingly, when I thought about how I found my author voice, I just wrote until I found it. I listened to myself, to things I'd written. Set them down and looked at them later. And then I began to find my footing by trusting my own instinct. I could go by what judges and reviewers and editors said. All that information is valuable. But it didn't get my voice. I had to find that on my own. And yes, all that feedback helped me to discover that, but the major lifting was done on my end, not theirs.

So, when it comes to doing the activities we need to do to be successful, we have to find our own way. Like Michael Gerber said in e-Myth. How We Do It Here. That means, we take the advice of others, search what's available, and then MAKE OUR OWN DECISIONS. What a concept! Some of us don't think spending $5000 a month on ads to make $6000 in income is smart. Some of us don't think hiring expensive gurus who claim to have the secrets of success is smart. Some of us don't think we should listen to every author who has the magic pill. There are promotional sites, VAs and PAs - everyone has an opinion and a reason for those opinions. And sometimes they can be just dead wrong.

Notice I said we don't have to listen to everyone? We don't. Somehow we feel we have to try and listen and work our tails off or we're "doing it wrong" if our sales don't soar.

So who do we listen to? OURSELVES. We learn to trust ourselves, be our authentic selves, tell the truth, and give up worry. We just keep moving. We may not be the best-selling author out there, but we can be the hardest working author: hardest working for our fans, investing in our craft, understanding and being aware of trends and marketing, knowing who to reach out to and who to listen to.

AND WHEN TO SHUT IT ALL OUT. I'm telling you, the best thing I've done this year is TUNE OUT more than I've tuned in. Weeding and culling, triming down, and just writing and promoting. Those are my two jobs.

Success is a daily mindset, and only we control that one.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Fun facts! Or are they?

Simon debuted March 10th and is now available at all the usual places, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., including my publisher, MuseItUp.

Troy won't give up on clearing Simon's name, and it's not an easy job. They both run into unexpected danger and......I love this book, hope you do too.

I'm an avid reader so never lack for a topic to blog about. I found a book that contains information about things we've long believed that might not be true. A bit on Lady Godiva caught my interest. Did she really ride naked through the streets of Coventry?

She was the wife of Leofric, earl of Mercia., in the twelfth century.  She was also wealthy in her own right, supporting several monasteries. So why did she ride naked through town? Supposedly she asked the Earl many times to lower the oppressive taxes on his subjects. He finally replied he'd do so the day she rode naked through Coventry. She called his bluff, he kept his word, and she became a heroine. She is still celebrated in Coventry, where her statue stands in the center of town.

But it's hard to find out if this is true. There was a real Lady Godiva, but the story only appears about 150 years after her death, and in the annals of a not-well credited historian, Roger of Wendover. Roger is now regarded as more of a teller of folklore. Through the centuries details have been added, like the stories saying she cover herself with her long golden hair. Other stories say she ordered the townsfolk to stay indoors and shutter their windows. One version has the town folk all complying except for a tailor named Tom, who peeked through his shutters. This angered the gods so they blinded him, but it does give reason for the term 'Peeping Tom'.

Love these crazy bits of information.  Hope you do too!

'Til next month.......Jean

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Making it Real by Suz deMello (#iamwriting #writingcraft #setting)

Outstanding books are memorable for a variety of reasons. Perhaps in one it is the romance we find so compelling.  In another, the characters stay with us for a long time. 

But for many readers, the sense of "being there" is the aspect that draws them into the book and keeps them there despite distractions.  I call this a sense of place, or setting.

Its importance can't be underestimated.  Some genres, such as certain subgenres of romance, are based totally on a unique or special setting, such as the English Regency or American West.  Some readers will purchase nothing but books placed in their favorite setting. People will read books in their favorite setting--Middle Earth, Hogwarts--over and over again just because they want to again experience the feeling of being there.

While I was editing professionally, I sometimes came upon a submission in which it was impossible for me to know where the book was set because the author assumed way too much. In one, for example, I had to go to the author's website to discover where her werewolf/vampire series was set. 

Fortunately for any of my readers who like to feel deeply grounded in a book, I love to travel and then put my observations and experiences into my writing.
I set a couple of recent re-releases in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I lived for about five years and still visit frequently. Here are a couple of snippets from those books:

...she took the handset and walked to the window, hoping to see a street sign so she could tell her partner where she was. Unfortunately, the view four stories below showed only a small back garden, typical of homes in San Francisco. It was beautifully landscaped with Japanese maples and azaleas, which were in bloom. A small stone bench sat by a pond.

The above is from Phoenix and Dragon, a novel set in San Francisco, and the description of this courtyard is based on one I saw years ago, in the Marina District, I believe.
And here's one from Spy Game, which takes place farther south. This clip describes Skyline Drive, which is off Highway 17 between San Jose and Santa Cruz, which I call Santa Laura in the book. It's best not to be too tethered to reality when writing. Otherwise one gets letters from irate readers stating that "I've been there and it's not like that!"

The wooded, two-lane road wound up a hill past a playground and a park. A swing set and a jungle gym were nearly invisible in the night, lit only by a few dim streetlamps. At the lane’s crest a row of mailboxes sat with a whimsical stuffed or carved animal perched atop each. A wooden bird with brightly painted, outstretched wings roosted on the box marked #2730...a little cottage that screamed “hippie heaven.”

I would never have dreamed up the mailboxes with the sculptures, so visiting the area while I was writing was a really good idea. Touches like those add a sense of reality to a book, which is really an imaginary construct even if it's a contemporary set in a recognizable place.

It's hard to make it as an author these days, and every aspect of the writer's craft must be well-honed and perfect, including setting in the novel.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Pots o' Gold

Image(s) courtesy 
I love looking at old ephemeral, whether it's magazines or greeting cards. It's such a neat way to learn about history, especially if there's a note written inside. As a writer of (sometimes) historical fiction, reading those notes and looking at writing of the period really helps me get the voice as well as learn more about how everyday people lived.

One of the neat things I've discovered is that St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the US and England do go back to the Victorian era. Running across cards like the one above made me want to know more. (Always a hazard when doing research.) By the nineteenth century, war and famine in Ireland had caused many natives, both protestant and Catholic, to flee to more promising shores. Homesickness and nostalgia drove them to celebrate their homeland with the help of the new color printing industry.

And, surprisingly enough, according to one man who grew up in an English colony during the 1920s and 30s, (my dad, as it happens), it didn't matter which color you wore, all the Irish or part-Irish folks put aside their differences and celebrated together.

Stories like that make me proud of my heritage. Spending four days with no power this past week makes me proud of my kids, seeing that same sort of flexibility and willingness to pitch in.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, and for those who celebrate, I'm wishing you a lovely Solstice.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Beloved Ireland ~ Land of Shamrocks and Pots of Gold

Ireland is a country that embeds itself in your heart. Once you’ve been there you’ll never forget it, and the love affair will continue for the rest of your life.

Since March is famous for St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it appropriate to post a tribute to Ireland, Eire, the ancient Hibernia, and all the other names by which this fair island has been known over the centuries.

Perhaps I’m trying to gain favor with the leprechauns so they might gift me some gold, or an insider’s map to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

In any event, Ireland is a fabulous place to set a romantic suspense.

Here are a few things Ireland is most famous for:

St. Patrick, Claddagh Rings, Guinness Beer, Blarney Castle, Jameson Whiskey, Aran Sweaters and other woolen works of art, The Cliffs of Moher, intricate crystal and glass (used to be Waterford Glass), wit and Irish music, Leprechauns and their Pots of Gold, Shamrocks and 4-Leaf Clovers, Kerrygold butter, and Bono’s U2…

Ireland has beautiful landscape. No matter what part of the small gem of a country you visit, there is a highly educated population with a strong work ethic, a thriving tourist trade with some of the friendliest locals in the world, top quality food, thanks to the rich soil and mournful climate, a fine health care system available to all citizens, and sadly, the loss of too many brilliant young people through emigration in search of opportunity elsewhere.

I’ve written two stories set in Ireland, with several more to come.

To Kiss A Leprechaun is a magical fantasy romance novella that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Raven of Blackthorn Manor is a Gothic romantic suspense novella in the brilliant A World of Gothic series. 

If you've ever been to Ireland, what was your favorite experience?

As you can see, I've been bitten by the little green lady bug... so, whether you are really Irish or just wish you were, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

GEMMA JULIANA writes all kinds of love stories, from contemporary to paranormal. She has a penchant for romantic international settings. Gemma lives in a cozy cottage in Texas with her very own hero, teen son, and a dog who rules them all. Chocolate and coffee nourish her muse and fuel her creativity. She loves hearing from readers.

Friday, March 10, 2017

WORLD'S GREATEST LOVE STORIES – Marc Antony and Cleopatra

Posted by R. Ann Siracusa

"Some love stories are immortal. And the true love story of Antony and Cleopatra is one of the most memorable, intriguing and moving of all times…  The relationship of Antony and Cleopatra is a true test of love.",

This is a great love story everyone is familiar with – at least some version of the tale – and it has captured the interest of many from Shakespeare to Cecil B. DeMille and is presented in many stories, movies, plays, and artwork. According to historian Adrian Goldsworthy, most of the retellings of the love affair are less than accurate, so it's possible your favorite version of the story isn't quite the way it went.

In this story our hero and heroine are historical figures and, because of who they were and the political roles they played, their tale seems to be of historical importance. We'll find out if it is or isn't.
Great love stories involving real people are difficult to tell because many are shaped by wars and struggles for power and domination. In studying the historical love stories, I find the external events drive the love story, making it difficult to separate the romantic and the historic aspects. You can't have one without the other.
Without getting into too much Roman history – because it is long, boring, and messy -- Marcus Antonius was a Roman politician who served as a general in Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul. After a civil war, when Caesar assumed his fifth and final consulship in 44 BC, Antony was his co-consul, his second in command.

Antony heard rumors of the plot against Caesar but was unable to warn him in time. After Caesar's death on the Ides of March, 44 BC, Antony took charge of Caesar's will, which named 17-year-old Octavian, Caesar's adopted son and nephew, as his heir.

Concerned about turning such a vast empire over to a teenager, Antony teamed up with another general, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and together, with Octavian, took over the rule of the empire, creating the Second Triumvirate. Rule was split three ways, with Antony's being responsible for the eastern provinces, including the client states of northern Africa, including Egypt. In order to avoid conflict with Octavian, Marc Antony married Octavian's sister Octavia.                
This put Antony at the pinnacle of power over the known world of the time. The map below shows the extent of the Roman Empire in 40 BC.                                               

Cleopatra VII Philopator was the queen (pharaoh) of Egypt and the last monarch of the Ptolemaic Empire, part of the Macedonian empire established after the death of Alexander the Great. Legend claims she was not only beautiful but intelligent. She spoke nine languages, was skilled in mathematics and, although she is often considered a seductress, she was studying to be a nun.
It's probable that she was Macedonian Greek mixed with Egyptian blood, but no one knows for sure.
Cleopatra became queen at the age of 17 and ruled Egypt for 22 years. Her father, and later Cleopatra, were dependent on Rome to maintain the empire. Hence she became an ally and lover of Julius Caesar until his assassination in 44 BC. They had one son together. 

After the death of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra was accused of being a party to his assassination. Marc Antony summoned her to his headquarters in Turkey, to explain herself. In 41 BC, she crossed the Mediterranean Sea to meet him. It's said she sailed up the Cydnus River in a decorated barge with purple sails, dressed as the Greek goddess Aphrodite. 

It was love at first sight. 
Well, maybe. But definitely each party saw something they needed. For Cleopatra, it was another opportunity to achieve power in Egypt and Rome. Antony already married and twenty years older than Cleopatra … so maybe he was having a mid-life crisis.
According to an article written in 2016 by Karl Smallwood they began their illicit love affair with "Cleopatra stripped naked save for her best come- to- bed- eyes and a shit ton of eye shadow and had her servants roll her inside of a gigantic carpet. She then gave the order to her slaves to deliver this carpet to Caesar’s room. When Caesar opened his door to greet the slaves, they unfurled the carpet at his feet revealing the naked Cleopatra who was now lying on the ground inviting him to into her private chambers."(
It is clear from the rest of the text that Smallwood is referring to the meeting of Cleopatra and Marc Antony, not Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. The word Caesar was the title given to a Roman emperor, especially from the reign of Augustus to that of Hadrian. Antony, at the time, was one of the three Caesar's who ruled the Roman Empire.
Regardless of how they got together, they became lovers, which put Egypt in powerful position. Cleopatra gave birth to twins shortly before Antony was forced to return from Egypt to Rome. They had a third child after he returned to Egypt.
Marc Antony's affair with Cleopatra had already strained the frail relationship with Octavian, since Antony was still married to Octavian's sister. 
Then Antony and Cleopatra were married in Antioch, Syria, in 36 BC. As a wedding present, Antony gave her much of the middle east to rule. Soon, as is the tradition of many eastern monarchies, Antony and Cleopatra began presenting themselves as divine -- as gods.
That was the last straw for Octavian. He declared war on Antony.

In the Battle of Actium, Greece, the combined military forces of Antony and Cleopatra lost to Octavian, and they fled back to Egypt. Octavian invaded Egypt and took over Alexandria.  There are two versions of Antony's death. In the first, Antony heard Cleopatra had been killed and, in desperation and grief, fell on his sword and died. In the other version, Antony surrendered to Octavian and, following Roman tradition, committed suicide by falling on his sword.

After Antony's death, Cleopatra was captured by Octavian who threatened to parade her through the streets of Rome as his prisoner. Either because her heart was broken by news of Antony's death, or because she was unable to bear the numiliation Octavian planned for her.. pm Suhudy 12, 20BC, she dressed in her royal robes, lay on her golden couch with a diadem on her brow, and had an asp (an Egyptian cobra) brought to her concealed in a basket of figs.  By allowing the asp, a symbol of divine royalty, to bite her she would, according to Egyptian beliefs, become immortal. She was 39 when she died. Two female servants died with her.

Considering who they were and the political roles they played in two great empires, it is, perhaps, surprising to realize neither Marc Antony nor Cleopatra changed the world in any significant way, unlike Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar.
After all, the winners write history, and Antony and Cleopatra lost the war with Octavian who became the first Emperor of Rome, Augustus Caesar.Their love story, however, has inspired the world for centuries thanks, primarily, to the writings of Shakespeare and an innumerable number of plays and movies.
Today, many more people in the world, two thousand years later, know more about Antony and Cleopatra than they do about Augustus and Julius Caesar, and fewer know anything about the Battle of Actium.

So, while Antony and Cleopatra may not have made any major contribution to the history of Western Civilization, their love story has outlasted and outshone the battles and wars of history. I'd say that's a significant feat as well as a testimonial for true love.

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