Monday, June 26, 2017

SPOTLIGHT w/INTERVIEW - The Competition (Da Vinci's Disciples, #2) by Donna Russo Morin

The Competition
Da Vinci's Disciples, #2
by Donna Russo Morin
Publication Date: April 25th 2017
Diversion Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 268 Pages
Genre: Historical/Mystery
Donna Russo Morin returns with a follow-up to Portrait of a Conspiracy, called “a page-turner unlike any historical novel, weaving passion, adventure, artistic rebirth, and consequences of ambition,” by C.W. Gortner.

In a studiolo behind a church, six women gather to perform an act that is, at once, restorative, powerful, and illegal. They paint. Under the tutelage of Leonardo da Vinci, these six show talent and drive equal to that of any man, but in Renaissance Florence they must hide their skills, or risk the scorn of the city.

A commission to paint a fresco in Santo Spirito is announced and Florence’s countless artists each seek the fame and glory this lucrative job will provide. Viviana, a noblewoman freed from a terrible marriage and now free to pursue her artistic passions in secret, sees a potential life-altering opportunity for herself and her fellow female artists. The women first speak to Lorenzo de’ Medici himself, and finally, they submit a bid for the right to paint it. And they win.

But the church will not stand for women painting, especially not in a house of worship. The city is not ready to consider women in positions of power, and in Florence, artists wield tremendous power. Even the women themselves are hesitant; the attention they will bring upon themselves will disrupt their families, and could put them in physical danger.

All the while, Viviana grows closer to Sansone, her soldier lover, who is bringing her joy that she never knew with her deceased husband. And fellow-artist Isabetta has her own romantic life to distract her, sparked by Lorenzo himself. Power and passion collide in this sumptuous historical novel of shattering limitations, one brushstroke at a time.

Buy Links:

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Praise for The Competition

"THE COMPETITION is a page-turning, provocative romp through a fascinating time and place―15th-century Florence. Donna Russo Morin has given us a novel for our time, a book featuring strong female characters fighting the odds to break the “glass ceiling,” and reminding us that this battle is not new: women have been waging it for centuries. ―Sherry Jones, author of The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard
“...a page-turner unlike any historical novel, weaving passion, adventure, artistic rebirth, and consequences of ambition...a masterful writer at the peak of her craft.”―C. W. Gortner, author of The Confessions of Catherine de'Medici
“A 15th-century Florence of exquisite art, sensual passion and sudden, remorseless violence comes vividly to life in Donna Russo Morin's new novel.”―Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown
“In Portrait of a Conspiracy, Russo Morin's rich detailing transports the reader to the heart of Renaissance Italy from the first page.”―Heather Webb, author of Becoming Josephine
“Illicit plots, mysterious paintings, and a young Leonardo da Vinci all have their part to play in this delicious, heart-pounding tale.”―Kate Quinn, author of The Empress of Rome Saga
"In elegant prose, Morin paints a captivating tale of courageous women painters who battle against prejudices in Renaissance Florence. Featuring strong women characters, each with distinctive personalities, this is exactly the type of historical novel I enjoy. Exhilarating and compassionate, The Competition sings a beautiful tribute of women's talents and underscores Morin's masterful storytelling. Delightful!"―Weina Dai Randel, author of The Moon in the Palace and The Empress of Bright Moon
“An inspiring tale of determined women, empowered by undeniable talent, in the male-dominated art world of Renaissance Florence. In The Competition, Ms. Morin delivers a captivating story rich with historical detail and beautifully woven through with atmosphere.”―Diane Haeger, author of Courtesan


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of The Competition & a Key Pendant necklace! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form The Competition. 
Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to residents in the US only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

About the Author

Donna earned two degrees from the University of Rhode Island. In addition to writing, teaching writing, and reviewing for literary journals, Donna works as a model and actor; highlights of her work include two seasons on Showtime’s Brotherhood and an appearance in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. Donna is the proud mother of two sons, one a future opera singer, the other a future chef. Donna's titles include The Courtier's Secret, The Secret of the Glass, To Serve a King, The King's Agent, Portrait of a Conspiracy, and The Competition. Donna enjoys meeting with book groups in person and via Skype chat.

How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
My readers have often told me that I write very visually; I make them feel that they are actually there, no matter if the book is set five hundred years ago and in another country.  A true compliment for me for is always my goal. I don’t want my readers just to ‘read,’ I want them to feel as if they are ‘in’ the story.

I also tend to change up the pace of the story as it unfolds…to counter scenes that center on the characters with scenes where the action dictates. All of life is full of ups and downs; to recreate them properly, so should the story.

What are some of your writing/publishing goals for this year?
Well, right now I’m finishing up the third and final book in the Da Vinci’s Disciples trilogy. I do know what my next book will be, so I’ll be deep into research for that book until the end of the year. And then I’ll be using a part of my education that I’ve yet to tap into…screenwriting. Other than that, nothing much. J

Do you feel that writing is an ingrained process or just something that flows naturally for you?
Both actually. I started writing at such a young age, I have no doubt that I was born for this purpose. And luckily, unless I may be going through difficult or extremely busy personal conditions, the words flow from me; sometimes so quickly, my fingers can’t keep up with my mind.

Do you have a character that you have been working on for a long time that still isn't quite ready, but fills you with excitement to work on the story?
There is a book that I’ve finished up that is looking for a home. It’s different from anything else I’ve ever written. What still needs some attention is the location of the book, which is so significant, I do consider it a character. It’s a tale I’ve wanted to tell for many years and I really want to do my best for it.

If you could spend one week with 5 fictional characters, who would they be?
Scarlett O’Hara (Gone With the Wind),
Jamie Fraser (Outlander),
Robert Langdon (Da Vinci Code),
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), and
Arya Stark (Game of Thrones).

Where would you spend one full year, if you could go ANYWhere? What would you do with this time?
This one is so easy…Italy! As a second generation American, my ancestral roots have always called to me. My paternal grandfather was a violin/viola player and maker; one of his violas is in the Smithsonian Institute. His father was a religious sculptor whose works can still be found in the churches of Foggia, from where he hailed. With my eldest son being an opera singer, it’s clear that there is a genetic thread of creativity running through our blood. I would spend the time finding family members and, for some reason, I feel a story will be waiting there for me.

Author Links:
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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 26 Interview at The Book Junkie Reads 
Tuesday, June 27 Review at A Bookaholic Swede 
Wednesday, June 28 Spotlight at Passages to the Past 
Thursday, June 29 Spotlight at The Lit Bitch Spotlight at A Holland Reads
Friday, June 30 Review at The True Book Addict 
Monday, July 3 Review at Pursuing Stacie 
Wednesday, July 5 Guest Post at Books of All Kinds 
Thursday, July 6 Spotlight at The Writing Desk 
Saturday, July 8 Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Monday, July 10 Review at History From a Woman's Perspective Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book 
Tuesday, July 11 Spotlight at A Literary Vacation 
Friday, July 14 Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog 
Monday, July 17 Review at Let Them Read Books 
Tuesday, July 18 Guest Post at Bookfever 
Thursday, July 20 Spotlight at What Is That Book About 
Monday, July 24 Review at Ageless Pages Reviews 
Wednesday, July 26 Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews 
Thursday, July 27 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! 
Friday, July 28 Review at Just One More Chapter