Guest Post with author Stephanie Dray + Giveaway of Song of the Nile

Passages to the Past is excited to bring you a guest post by author Stephanie DraySong of the Nile and a giveaway of her latest novel in the Cleopatra's Daughter trilogy!

Take it away, Stephanie...

When the Isle of Samos was the Center of the World
Stephanie Dray

If it’s good to be the king, it’s even better to be the emperor. At least in ancient Rome. Unless your guards are waiting for you with daggers, or an angry wife feeds you poisoned mushrooms, you get to be the center of the world...wherever you go.

Now, when we think of the Roman empire--particularly the early Roman empire when there was still a pretense of a Republic--we quite naturally think of Rome as the center of the civilized world. Certainly, Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, would have wanted us to think of it that way.

However, the fact remains that once he’d wrested control away from the Senate and other quasi-democratic institutions, the government was always wherever he went. And in the aftermath of his victory over Cleopatra VII and Marcus Antonius (aka Mark Antony), the emperor spent quite some time on the Isle of Samos in Greece.

What was so special about this island? Well, for one, it had to be salt in the wound for those who had supported Cleopatra and Antony--because the Isle of Samos is where those two famous lovers made their doomed preparations for war. But it also had a lovely climate, and in spite of his stern Roman values, the emperor liked his creature comforts. (When fighting in the mountains in Spain, for example, he let his soldiers endure the cold while he vacationed down in Tarragona.)

Between the years of 22 BC - 19 BC, however, Augustus had another reason to move his court to the Greek island. Namely, he was preparing for war with Parthia to the East. He needed a relatively secure staging area from which to reorganize the Eastern part of the empire so as to make a stable foothold from which to advance. He had kings to appoint, taxes to levy, people to punish, and territorial boundaries to redraw.

In my new novel, Song of the Nile, my heroine believes that this is the perfect time to convince Augustus to restore her to the throne of Egypt. Like Cleopatra before her, she hopes to convince the Romans that she can provide them with grain in their long-sought war with the Parthians. It’s her experiences there, in Greece, engaged in a high stakes cat and mouse game with the emperor that change her forever.

So how much of that is true? Historically speaking, we have no idea where Cleopatra Selene was during those years before 19BC when she finally appears on the coins of Mauretania, but there are only three options. She may have been in Mauretania with Juba, though some scholars do question this idea and think she married Juba later. She may have been in Rome under the care of the emperor’s sister, Octavia. Or, as a ward of the emperor’s and a member of his court, she may have been on the Isle of Samos.

I chose the latter because it made for a wonderful showdown in my book--a titanic clash between a ruthless, complex, depraved emperor and the girl upon whose shoulders rested the legacy of Cleopatra. I think it made for a wonderful choice, and I hope my readers will agree!

About Song of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter #2)


Sorceress. Seductress. Schemer. Cleopatra’s daughter has become the emperor’s most unlikely apprentice and the one woman who can destroy his empire…

Having survived her perilous childhood as a royal captive of Rome, Selene pledged her loyalty to Augustus and swore she would become his very own Cleopatra. Now the young queen faces an uncertain destiny in a foreign land.

Forced to marry a man of the emperor’s choosing, Selene will not allow her new husband to rule in her name. She quickly establishes herself as a capable leader in her own right and as a religious icon. Beginning the hard work of building a new nation, she wins the love of her new subjects and makes herself vital to Rome by bringing forth bountiful harvests.

But it’s the magic of Isis flowing through her veins that makes her indispensable to the emperor. Against a backdrop of imperial politics and religious persecution, Cleopatra’s daughter beguiles her way to the very precipice of power. She has never forgotten her birthright, but will the price of her mother’s throne be more than she’s willing to pay?

About Stephanie Dray...

Stephanie graduated from Smith, a small women’s college in Massachusetts where–to the consternation of her devoted professors–she was unable to master Latin. However, her focus on Middle Eastern Studies gave her a deeper understanding of the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion.

Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the transformative power of magic realism to illuminate the stories of women in history and inspire the young women of today. She remains fascinated by all things Roman or Egyptian and has–to the consternation of her devoted husband–collected a house full of cats and ancient artifacts.

Giveaway Information...

**To enter the giveaway you must follow Stephanie on her newsletter, Facebook page, or Twitter and please indicate in your comments which one you chose (honor system!).**
- To enter, please leave a comment below and include your email address (only comments with email addresses will be entered in the giveaway).
- Giveaway is open to US and Canada ONLY.
- For +5 additional entries become a follower of Passages to the Past. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries. 
- For +3 additional entries join the Passages to the Past FB Page.
- For +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting or posting this giveaway on Facebook.  You can use the SHARE buttons below.
- Giveaway ends on October 30th.



  1. Love it!

    +5 for following Passages to the Past.
    +3 for joining the FB page.

  2. I just love this trajectory - Cleopatra has been such an iconic character for so long that I just relish the continuance of a Cleo story with her daughter - and such a kick ass daughter to boot! Thanks so much for the contest! :)

    Ammy Belle
    apereiraorama @ gmail . com

    +5 Follower.
    +3 FB Name = Ammy Pereira

  3. Loving Cleopatra as I do, like Ammy, I'm thrilled to continue the story with her daughter! ;)

  4. I am following on Twitter (my id @redheadedjen).

    I hope to win. This book is on my to read list.

  5. I loved this guest post -- all of Ms. Dray's guest blogs, actually, as she writes so knowingly and accessibly about ancient times. I adored her first Cleopatra Selene novel and I've just started Song of the Nile. All I can say is WOW (in the best way!)

  6. I'm a follower- thanks for the giveaway!

  7. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in Samos back in the day! Fascinating!

    I already get the newsletter and follow Stephanie on Twitter so I "liked" her page on FB.

    5+ for being a blog follower!
    3+ for being a FB group member!
    1+ for tweeting (!/abookishaffair/status/126702081959665664)

  8. This story really interests me. I think it would be great to see Selene make her own name for herself.

    I follow Stephanie on her FB.
    I am a GFC Blog follower.

    Cambonified (at) yahoo (dot) com

  9. I follow Stephanie on Twitter and FB, as well as hew newsletter.
    + 3 for joining the FB group.
    + 1 for sharing on Twitter

    FB name: Amanda Kali
    Twitter Name: Isolde of Avalon

  10. I've been wanting to read her books. Thanks!!

    I'm following her on Facebook and Twitter

    libraryofmyown at gmail dot com

    +5 I'm a follower of yours
    +3 I follow your FB page
    +1 I'm Tweeting and FBing


  11. What an intriguing book! Please enter me in the drawing. I'm following Stephanie on FB,
    +5 I'm a follower of yours,
    +3 I follow your FB page, and
    +1 I'm reposting.

    Many thanks, Jo Ann Butler

  12. Song of the Nile sounds like an awesome read!!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!!

    i'm already a follower of Stephanie's FB page;
    +5 = Passages2thePast follower
    +3 = joined Passages2thePastFBPage
    +1 = shared on

  13. I follow Stephanie on fb-mamabunny shelor.
    +1 I'm very interested in reading this book. I follow via gfc - mmabunny13

    +5 I follow via gfc - mamabunny13
    +3 I like you on fb-mamabunny shelor.
    +1 Shared on facebook.!/permalink.php?story_fbid=190052057737556&id=100001199655476
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  14. Rena,

    I'm a long time follower of Stephanie's newsletter and enjoy her writing about Selene, Cleopatra's daughter. I'm a long time follower of this blog, a follower of Passages to the Past FB page and have shared on my facebook wall about this giveaway. Please count me in. I'd love to win a copy of this book.

  15. Follow Stephanie Dray on FB

    maynekitty [at] live [dot] com

  16. like Passages to the Past on FB

    maynekitty [at] live [dot] com

  17. 2
    like Passages to the Past on FB

    maynekitty [at] live [dot] com

  18. 3
    like Passages to the Past on FB

    maynekitty [at] live [dot] com

  19. tweet!/maynekitty/status/127032884061147136

  20. Thanks for the giveaway. I'm a follwer and also follow on fb.


  21. I already follow Stephanie on FB and I think by email.

    +5 New (GFC) follower
    +1 Spread the word




  22. I'm sure very few people could resist any novel about Cleopatra. So, a story about her daughter must be really good and this synopsis proves it. I'm looking forward to reading this. Thanks for sharing!

    Connie Fischer

    +5 - Follower of PTTP
    +3 - Member of the PTTP FB Past
    +1 - Shared giveaway on FB

  23. This book sounds great! I haven't read any of Stephanie's books to date but I have heard they are very exciting! I like Stephanie on Facebook (Colleen Turner).

    +5. GFC follower (Colleen Turner).
    +3. Facebook follower of the page (Colleen Turner).
    Shared on Facebook.


  24. Although I love stories about Cleopatra, it's nice to see something shining the light on her daughter too!

    I became a follower of Stephanie's Twitter page.

    I'm a GFC follower +5
    I'm a member of the FB page +3
    I tweeted the giveaway +1


  25. What a terrific guest post! And I really admire Stephanie for doing so much in her life - a lawyer, game designer and teacher, and now an author! Truly inspiring :)

    +5 GFC follower
    +3 FB follower
    +1 tweeted:!/jwitt33/status/127394430784249856
    +1 FB post:

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  26. I love to read about Cleopatra Selene - can't wait to read "Song of the Nile."

    I follow Stephanie Dray on Twitter

  27. Sounds very intriguing.

  28. I loved Lily of the Nile and can't wait to read this one.

    I follow Stephanie on both twitter(alterlisa) & FB(Lisa Ann Richards)
    Follow Passages to the Past- Lisa Richards
    +3 Follow PttP on FB- Lisa Ann Richards

    follower on GFC-Lisa Richards


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  29. Wonderful guest post and I really like the idea that Octavia had a roll in raising Cleopatra's about a great teacher for a strong woman. Can't wait to get over this purge stuff that I started so I can read

    +5 Follower PFTP
    +3 Facebook Fan PFTP
    +1 Sharing on Twitter:!/rlphilbr13
    +1 Sharing on Facebook:
    +1 posted on Blog:
    Thanks for the giveaway
    Fondly, Roberta

  30. Love the giveaway! I love the author! I read the first book and it was fantastic.

    I'm a follower of her twitter through my account(@karasmannequin) and I just requested to be a member of the Passages to the Past group on my facebook (Kara DiDomizio) (+1)
    I subscribed to follow the site via my email! (+5)

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